By Sree Roy
A major challenge for the sleep medicine subspecialty is the huge number of people who are unaware that they have sleep apnea. Meanwhile, people with undiagnosed sleep apnea are frequently weighed down by the sleep disorder’s daytime symptoms and/or comorbidities, without realizing that efficacious treatments are available, if only they knew to seek them out. In the communities of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland, integrated health system WellSpan Health has made a sizable dent in the number of undiagnosed cases.
WellSpan sleep program director asked about creating an online screening tool for sleep apnea after taking a WellSpan-created risk assessment for breast cancer screening. “I reached out to marketing, and we moved forward from there,” says program director Tammy Sterner, RN, BSN, MEd, NE-BC. “A web designer internal to WellSpan developed the concept.”
Sterner hoped the health risk assessment would create public awareness, information, and demographic data, and most importantly provide people with a starting point to have conversations with their primary care physician (PCP) about sleep. Since May of 2019, 2,082 people have completed the online …