An institutional review board has approved a major research study that will examine the link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and healthcare costs.

The Sleep Wellness Institute  in West Allis, Wis., has begun recruiting participants among employees at Kleen Test Products, a Port Washington, Wis., contract manufacturer, for sleep apnea screening, testing and treatment.  Three groups of employees will be studied:  a “normal” control group; a group with OSA who are compliant with their continuous positive pressure airway (CPAP) treatment; and a group with the disorder who are non-compliant.

Healthcare claims data for the 12 months prior to and 12 months after treatment will be evaluated to determine definitively if the early detection and treatment of OSA helps to reduce health claims costs.  Sleep apnea has been linked to several other medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and others.

Mark Stoiber, President of the Sleep Wellness Institute, says the study will use the newest state of the art method for measuring CPAP compliance, cellular technology that will automatically send participants’ sleep data to the Institute every night.

“It’s long been thought that detecting and treating OSA earlier rather than later can reduce overall healthcare costs,” he explained.  “To our knowledge, this is the first definitive study to examine the link between treatment for OSA and healthcare costs.”

Kleen Test Products Corp.,  is a contract manufacturer of consumer products for leading Fortune 500 companies.  Employing more than 800 people at seven facilities throughout Wisconsin and Ohio, it is a subsidiary of Meridian Industries, Inc., a Milwaukee-based diversified manufacturing company.

The Sleep Wellness Institute is Wisconsin’s oldest and largest independent sleep disorders center.  It is fully accredited to diagnose both adults and children with sleep disorders by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Steve Gardner