Our Medical Director Featured in a Recent Sleep Review Article

May 1, 2023

People with sleep apnea are typically patients for life, just like patients with diabetes. Home sleep testing unlocks the possibility of longitudinal testing beyond the initial diagnosis.

By Sree Roy

As a physician who is triple board-certified in internal, pulmonary, and sleep medicine, Tim Kowalski, MD, CPE, FCCP, cares for many people who have chronic diseases. But he feels frustrated that sleep apnea is managed with minimal longitudinal objective data, unlike the long-term management of common chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

“Typically you follow a chronic disease to make sure it’s getting better, such as reviewing downloads of continuous glucose monitoring or at-home blood pressure monitoring,” says Kowalski, who is also medical director at CleveMed. “And sleep apnea is one of the diseases in which we don’t really do that; we sort of go by symptoms: ‘Are you tired now?’ ‘Well, you were tired before.’ By contrast, we don’t assume a diabetic is fine just because they’re no longer urinating all the time.”

Kowalski thinks sleep apnea should be managed like other chronic diseases, with follow-ups that review objective efficacy. He, as well as other sleep specialists, are excited about the prospect of the new category of wearable, wireless home sleep tests (HST)—such as home sleep testing rings and patches—being an option to get longitudinal efficacy data with ease. Even though many HST wearables do not provide the traditional waveforms that sleep specialists are experienced in interpreting, such as airflow directly from a nasal cannula, he thinks this device category generates the needed data “to get the job done correctly as we go forward.”