Earlier this summer, I invited all AASM members to complete an anonymous, online survey about both current initiatives and potential future directions for the AASM. I am grateful to all of you who took the time to provide your feedback and thoughtful input, which the Board of Directors reviewed as we began a strategic planning process in July.
The survey results emphasized that our membership has a diversity of interests and priorities. When asked to prioritize various initiatives, some members put all of their eggs in one basket, while others distributed them in various proportions. However, the survey gave us broad confidence that the multi-faceted activities of the AASM are important to our members. Additionally, there were a few trends that stood out among the results.
First, it is clear that our members highly value AASM standards of practice, wanting us to produce more of them and at a faster pace. This remains a top priority for us, as evidenced by the recently updated adaptive servo-ventilation recommendations and the current request for comments on the draft clinical practice guideline for the diagnostic testing of obstructive sleep apnea in adults. Additional papers that will be coming your way this fall include a clinical practice guideline for the pharmacologic treatment of chronic insomnia in adults and a new position paper on the use of actigraphy.
Second, our members clearly want the AASM to continue advocating for appropriate reimbursement and evidence-based coverage for sleep medicine services. We hear you loud and clear, and we share your concerns about how both public and private payer policies have affected the practice of sleep medicine in recent years. As previously announced, the AASM has appointed an Insurance Policy Review Committee that is helping us identify the most egregious policies, and we will be working to persuade insurers that changes are necessary.
Finally, members expressed overwhelming support for the AASM to continue investing in public relations initiatives. Through the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project and the AASM’s ongoing media relations campaign, we are raising public awareness of the importance of healthy sleep. We are promoting the value of the health care services provided by sleep physicians and the sleep team at accredited sleep centers. For example, in a recent USA Today insert that reached an estimated 5 million people, my column urged readers to make sleep a top health priority and emphasized that expert care for sleep problems is available from sleep specialists.
All of this valuable feedback will be taken into consideration by the Board of Directors as we continue to create strategic aims that will guide our organization for the next few years.
Ronald D. Chervin, MD, MS