Undergoing a sleep apnea test can be the first step toward turning around your sleep health, or even your overall health. At Singular Sleep, we've noticed that a few questions seem to come up frequently when people contact us and are interested in ordering a home sleep study. We’d like to take the opportunity to answer the top 5 questions we are asked by patients about home sleep testing so you can make an informed decision before you buy.
1. What is home sleep apnea testing, and how does the process work?
Home sleep testing is a way to be tested for sleep apnea in the comfort of your own home, without having to go to a hospital or sleep lab for an overnight sleep study. A home sleep test is unattended, meaning that you set up and begin the test yourself, without a sleep technician present.
To begin the process, you would place an order via our quick and simple online sleep apnea test order form. We ship using Priority Mail, so your test would reach you 2-3 business days after we ship it. Once you receive it, you may keep the test for two nights, although you only need to use the test for one night. After you use it, you would place all components in the prepaid, pre-labeled return box that’s included in the package, then drop it in the mail to send it back to us. It would then return to us in 3 business days. Once we receive it, our board certified sleep doctor can usually interpret the data and produce the sleep test results report within 24 hours, which we send to you by e-mail.
2. How intrusive is the home sleep test? Am I going to be covered in wires and electrodes?
Our home sleep apnea test system is surprisingly unobtrusive. We use the Alice NightOne Home Sleep Testing System from Philips Respironics, which provides a maximum amount of data with minimal hardware. The test comprises three basic components: an elastic chest belt that connects to the small recording device itself, a sensor that goes on your finger, called a pulse oximeter, to measure blood oxygen levels, and a lightweight nasal cannula. There are no adhesive electrodes, nor are there any components above the nose or below the chest. For more specifics, watch the video below or read our home sleep study guide.
3. Is home sleep testing as accurate as an in-lab sleep study? What can a lab study tell me that a home sleep test won’t?
Home sleep testing is just as accurate in diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea as an in-lab study. In fact, there are several reasons to believe that home sleep apnea testing can actually be more accurate in diagnosing sleep apnea than an in-lab study. One, when a patient is sleeping in his/her own home, they are more likely to sleep normally compared with sleeping in an unfamiliar environment, like a lab; thus, the data collected is more likely to provide an accurate picture of the patient’s sleep disorder. Also, during an in-lab study, technicians may frequently wake the patient to check or adjust the electrodes that are adhered to the body, thus waking the patient up. When a patient is awakened periodically throughout the night, this can artificially trigger breathing events that would not have occurred otherwise.
That said, there are some circumstances and disorders for which a home sleep study is not appropriate. Unlike a home sleep study, an in-lab study is able to detect certain limb movements that would indicate periodic limb movement disorder. An in-lab study could also be considered as a follow-up measure after a home sleep test does demonstrate sleep apnea, but the nature of the apnea (obstructive or central) is unclear. Finally, home sleep tests are not recommended for patients with certain pre-existing conditions, such as COPD, advanced heart failure, and neurological diseases that can affect breathing.
4. Will my insurance pay for the home sleep test?
At this time, Singular Sleep does not work directly with any insurance companies, and we do require payment for the at home sleep study at the time the order is placed. We will be happy to provide you with an invoice, which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. We make no guarantee that your individual insurance provider will reimburse any or all of the $295 fee.
5. What do I do if my home sleep test shows that I have sleep apnea? Will Singular Sleep’s sleep doctor prescribe me the treatment that I need?
If your in home sleep study demonstrates sleep apnea, your results report will include the diagnosis and our sleep apnea doctor’s recommendations for treatment. However, you will still need to obtain a prescription in order to receive treatment. Most patients like to do this by scheduling an online sleep doctor consultation with Dr. Krainin, our board-certified sleep physician. The law requires us to conduct this consultation in order to establish a doctor-patient relationship, which would allow Dr. Krainin to prescribe the treatment that you need, such as CPAP and BiPAP. The consultation fee for a patient who has had a home sleep study test through Singular Sleep is $160.
Alternatively, some patients prefer to take their results reports to their primary care doctors to obtain the prescription. Singular Sleep is still able to dispense treatment to you, even if your prescription came from your own doctor.
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