The Sleep Wellness Institute is currently conducting a research project entitled  Reducing Employer Healthcare Costs:  A Two-Year Study on Screening, Testing and Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

To date, the Sleep Wellness Institute has completed recruitment for this research trial.  65 subjects were sampled from the manufacturing company Kleen Test Products, headquartered in Port Washington, Wis.  Kleen Test Products is very proactive about their employees’ health.  These two companies have been an excellent match working on this trial.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has long  been linked to many co-mobid conditions (Pagel 2007).  More recently, a relationship between healthcare cost and OSA has been suggested ( Ronald, Delaive, Roos, Manfreda & Kryger 1998; Kapur et al., 1999; Berger et al, 2006; Tarasiuk et al., 2005).  The goal of this trial was to reinforce these findings using a control group and the latest technology.  Previous studies have had some concerns … for example, by using a pre/post test design and relying on self reporting to monitor compliance to treatment.  This trial’s hope is to build upon the prior works and showing an even greater likelihood that OSA sufferers do utilize more healthcare services, and that once treated , that utilization is reduced.

The preliminary findings, taken from the 65 subjects, do show an increase in healthcare utilization prior to screening or treatment when compared to the control group (P=0.039).  The control group’s mean healthcare spending for 12 months prior to screening equals $1,194.68 per member.  The OSA group’s mean healthcare spending for the year prior to treatment is $2,579.13 per member.

Currently, the premise of our trial appears to be valid, that OSA sufferers utilize more healthcare than controls.  For the next year, compliance to treatment and healthcare spending data will continue to be collected to determine what effects the treatment of OSA has on healthcare costs.

 

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