Precedent suggests that there is a future for telemedicine in the treatment of sleep disorders but adoption of the technique has been slow. -JR
DENVER -- Telemedicine is a potentially game-changing strategy for treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, but it is not yet widely utilized, an expert reported here.
Uncertainty about reimbursement remains a major roadblock to the wider use of telemedicine in sleep medicine, said Jaspal Singh, MD, of Carolinas HealthCare System, Charlotte, North Carolina.
ingh spoke about the potential for telemedicine to improve patient outreach and outcomes in an afternoon session delivered June 14 at SLEEP 2016, the 30th anniversary meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). He also co-authored a recently published AASM position paperin support of its use in the field.
"Telemedicine is coming, and if we as sleep providers don't offer it, someone else will," he said.
In an interview with MedPage Today, Singh said while reimbursement models have not been quick to adopt telemedicine, he expects that to change over the next few years.
"Sleep medicine is more suited to telemedicine than many other specialties because we don't rely as much on the physical examination of the patient," he said. "A lot of what we learn about a patient comes from talking with them and taking their history."