Sleep telemedicine is the practice of utilizing technology to care and service for patients who have sleep disorders.
There are several technologies that are available to the sleep specialist. Generally, these tools allow a sleep doctor or sleep technologist to care for a patient who is not located in the sleep center. Sleep telemedicine services bring care to patients who might not otherwise be helped.
Tools Used in Sleep Telemedicine
One of the simplest tools for reaching patients who are not local is the telephone. Of course, with webcams and phone cameras, now sleep clinicians can see and hear their patients in real time. This allows for remote physician examination and review of symptoms.
Many patients undergo a sleep study. These tests are now digital and can be transferred from computer to computer, and from city to city.
A patient who has a sleep study in Philadelphia might have the sleep test scored by a technologist in Alabama, and interpreted by a sleep physician in California who provides sleep telemedicine services.
Limitations of Sleep Telemedicine
Most states have laws that regulate the review of medical data across state lines. Most states stipulate that their laws apply when the patient is located in their state.
There are federal laws that have been designed to protect the privacy and integrity of all medical data so that it does get into the wrong hands.
There are other limitations with sleep telemedicine. Some critics believe that the connection between two people (patient and doctor) is limited or reduced with remote conversation.
As data transfer becomes more advanced, Sleep Telemedicine will become more popular. This will allow patients who do not have easy access to sleep physician more opportunities to find professional care in a timely manner.
Want to learn more about sleep telemedicine? Read 5 FAQ’s about Sleep Telemedicine
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