Managing sleep problems with medical software should continue to be a growing trend in the next few years. According to findings that were examined in 2014 from the National Ambulatory Medical Care survey, there have been "striking increases" both in the number and percentages for sleep-related problems during outpatient visits. What does this mean for medical offices? A large number of primary care physicians and some specialists might be required to know more about how these conditions affect the overall health of their patients.
Sleep research is increasing
It's also important to note that the amount of studies related to sleep-related problems is increasing. According to Modern Medicine, the number of sleep studies skyrocketed between 1997 and 2011, and the reasoning behind this research makes sense given the amount of individuals in the U.S. who struggle with getting a good night's rest.
"40 million Americans deal with long-term, chronic sleep issues annually."
Sleep disorders are becoming more common
Many of your patients are likely suffering from sleep disorders, as the rates for poor sleep continue to grow. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, at least 40 million Americans deal with long-term, chronic sleep issues annually, and an additional 20 million individuals have occasional sleep problems. Sleep problems can have wide-reaching effects, impacting an individual's work habits, driving skills and social life.
Additionally, according to the NINDS, sleep-related disorders cost an estimated $16 billion every year – putting a strain on providers and patients financially. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has even classified insufficient sleep as a "public health epidemic." However, many sleep issues can be treated, so long as they are identified and correctly diagnosed.
It's worth noting that many health IT leaders are also trying to convince government organizations to make sleep assessment part of the meaningful use core objective. Most notably, representatives from the National Sleep Foundation presented its support for such an initiative in 2014, so having adequate software that delivers on sleep assessment strategies might become an important part of your IT strategy soon, especially with stage 3 set for 2016.
Luckily, with robust and intelligent medical software, primary care physicians and specialists can utilize disease-specific templates and features to more effectively manage sleep problems. Because these issues are prevalent and impact the overall health of many demographics, it's a wise investment to include sleep medicine EHRs into your treatment and diagnosis plan.