Remote patient monitoring (RPM) continues to play an increasingly significant role in medical care. Itamar Medical Ltd. recently published the results of a survey of health care professionals that found a significant increase in the use of Home Sleep Apnea Tests (HSAT) instead of the industry-standard, labs-based Polysomnography (PSG) testing. The survey covered medical testing sleep apnea during 2020. Clinicians prescribed HSAT in place of PSG because many sleep labs closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sleep test survey found 93% of sleep health professionals used HSAT in their practice in 2020. Compared to pre-COVID-19, about 66% of survey respondents reported increasing HSAT usage and 67% reported indicated they decreased PSG testing. Most of the respondents indicated they expect HSAT use in the majority of sleep apnea testing after the pandemic.

Itamar Medical’s WatchPAT Home Sleep Apnea Test uses a proprietary Peripheral Arterial Tone signal (PAT) to test for sleep apnea. According to Itamar, WatchPAT has an 89% positive correlation with PSG testing results. The WatchPAT system includes three devices: a wristband, a finger clip, and a chest patch sensor. The system employs the three points of contact to measure up to seven channels. WatchPAT measures PAT signal, heart rate, oximetry, actigraphy (activity sensing), body position, snoring, and chest motion. Health care professionals retrieve data from the WatchPAT components to diagnosis the patients’ sleep dynamics.

It will be interesting to see if the increased use of in-home sleep testing continues after the end of pandemic restrictions. We expect that their use will only continue to grow as patients and healthcare professionals come to appreciate the convenience and cost savings of such tests.