Sleep Medicine Trends in 2021
With over 10 years in the sleep medicine industry, Stacy Fisher has proven to be a true patient advocate. On behalf of the entire team at Ohio Sleep Treatment, we are thrilled to be featuring Stacy. In the following discussion, we talk about the latest 2021 sleep medicine trends and patient roadblocks. We also highlight Stacy’s committed approach to her current role as a Sales Representative for AeroCare. AeroCare is a durable medical equipment (DME) company. They provide respiratory therapy services, medical equipment, and services for Home Oxygen, Nebulized Respiratory Medications and Sleep Therapy. Before we dive into this insightful discussion, let us share a little history on Stacy’s experience in the sleep medicine industry.
Meet Stacy Fisher:
Stacy has been with multiple sleep labs throughout Central OH. She started at Capitol Sleep Medicine, transitioned into working for various other private practices, and even worked for Ohio Health Sleep Services for 7 years. Stacy was in multiple different roles including; lead pediatric technologist, outcome supervisor, precertification supervisor, and the operations supervisor. About 3 years ago, Stacy transitioned into sales. She did this to “utilize the clinical knowledge and apply that towards a sales perspective.”
Stacy worked for Goodnight Medical for some time but was laid off due to the pandemic. Fortunately, Stacy’s resilient nature led her into her current role with AeroCare! Stacy has proudly worked at AeroCare for almost a year. Stacy shared a piece of advice that she has always taken with her from a previous coworker. She said “sleep is really small, NEVER burn any bridges!” and Stacy surely has not. Stacy explains throughout her career, she crossed paths with previous coworkers at different clinics frequently. Emphasizing just how small and intimate the sleep medicine industry is here in Columbus, OH, and more than likely beyond! Now that we know more about Stacy Fisher, let’s dive into the discussion!
How has your previous clinical sleep medicine experience helped you in your new Sales role with AeroCare?
- Being a resource for both patients and physicians has proven to be helpful to Stacy. Thanks to clinical experience, Stacy can “review compliance reports for patients, look at titration studies, interpret patient insurance plans. Just really provide more of a resource for referral sources vs just the sales perspective,” as explained by Stacy. Stacy is working hard to establish herself as a valuable resource to both physicians and patients. “I work really hard to get the right equipment for my patients. The machines can be super expensive and insurance can be extremely strenuous.”
What are some new or emerging trends in the sleep medicine industry?
- When asked about emerging trends, Stacy required no time to answer. “There has been a huge trend towards home sleep testing,” Stacy said. She is not the biggest fan of home sleep testing for all patients due to the potential for false negatives. “This leads to patents falling through the cracks,” said Stacy. Despite her hesitations surrounding home sleep tests, Stacy shared an innovative advancement in home sleep testing, called the Night Owl. This home sleep test acts as a finger probe, and simply fits on your finger. Stacy said “it gives you the same reading as a big clunky home sleep test from five years ago. It’s a game changer!” Not only that, but it’s disposable. Stacy explains that AeroCare is going to start using it for pulse ox testing for patients.
- Another trend is the monitoring of therapy for sleep apnea patients. “Every CPAP comes with a modem. AeroCare uses these modems to track patient compliance. AeroCare provides that data to insurance carriers for reimbursement,” explained Stacy. This data is used to monitor the success of the modality, whether it be CPAP, BiPAP, etc. AeroCare is heavy into technology and it shows! It’s the “way of the future,” as described by Stacy.
The Importance of treating sleep apnea:
- The positive transformation patients experience after making the final titration to their therapy is truly remarkable. Thanks to Stacy’s extensive experience working at overnight sleep testing clinics, she has been able to witness this positive transformation. “That patient wakes up and there is a changed look on their face! I’ve had people look at me with tears in their eyes saying that was the best sleep of their life.” Being a patient advocate is what drives Stacy throughout her career. “Think about the couple of nights where you have terrible sleep, you’re grumpy… think about years of not getting sleep!” Stacy expressed. Not to mention the health ailments that come along with it. This includes but is not limited to high blood pressure, heart problems, and memory loss. Stacy emphasizes that she has been incredibly grateful to experience the life changing effect sleep apnea treatment has had on patients over the years. In the words of Stacy, she’s a “big sleep nerd” and the team here at OST is in FULL support of that!
Roadblocks in sleep apnea treatment:
- Insurance criteria has become increasingly strict to get an in-lab approved sleep test for patients. Examples of this criteria include significant comorbid conditions and/or a sleep disorder other than OSA being suspected. A lot of insurance carriers are pushing the home sleep test. For Stacy, it comes down to a lack of understanding by physicians regarding the complex insurance criteria. Along with the push from insurance carriers to do home sleep tests. “When you order the wrong test, the patient has a delay in care,” says Stacy. “Being able to order the right tests and making sure the patient is in the forefront of everyone’s mind, that is what matters most.” Stacy acknowledges sleep is becoming less of a “fad” medicine as it was once perceived, but there is still room to grow.
- Another roadblock is patients not understanding the importance of their sleep health. Stacy has experienced multiple patients throughout her career say they refuse to wear the CPAP mask. This is despite the clinical data proving quality sleep is being achieved. Stacy believes a “liaison” role would be extremely useful for patients. This role would help convey the importance of therapy and staying compliant. Stacy pictures the liaison role as the following, “The patient will come in for the consultation to discuss their sleep issues. Then, the sleep study will be scheduled. Once the results come back, the liaison will interpret them to the patient. Finally, the liaison will decide with the patient the best course of treatment.” Stacy describes that this is her initiative currently to act as a type of liaison between the patients and physicians.
Thank you Stacy!
Thank you to Stacy Fisher for joining us on this insightful dive into the sleep medicine industry. To get in contact with Stacy, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate sleep advocates like Stacy who show commitment to saving patient lives through sleep apnea treatment. Furthermore, we look forward to witnessing the innovations Stacy and her company, AeroCare, continue to bring to the field of sleep medicine.
If you enjoyed this discussion with Stacy, let us know in the comments below! Questions? Give our clinic a call at 614-396-8286 or click here to contact us online! You can also check out our Sleep Medicine blog archives for more interviews with sleep professionals like Stacy!