American Academy of Sleep Medicine sponsors contest to reimagine patient care

DARIEN, IL – The American Academy of Sleep Medicine congratulates the winners of its inaugural Change Agents competition, a contest to generate creative ideas to reimagine the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. The competition was an outgrowth of the AASM’s second Sleep Medicine Disruptors course, which explored innovative developments in health care and the field of sleep medicine.

Thirteen teams completed the competition by collaborating on proposals to reinvent the treatment of sleep apnea to be more effective, efficient, and patient-centered. A panel of judges reviewed each team’s presentation and selected a first-place and second-place winner. Members of the AASM and the broader sleep medicine community voted on the People’s Choice winner. Proposals were evaluated on originality, feasibility, impact, and comprehensiveness. The contest prizes were $15,000 for the first-place team, $7,500 for second place, and $2,500 for the People’s Choice winner.

“These innovative teams brought a patient-centric approach to find ways to revolutionize sleep apnea care,” said Azizi Seixas, PhD, chair of the Sleep Medicine Disruptors course and the Change Agents competition and an assistant professor in the departments of population health and psychiatry at NYU Langone Health in New York. “Their creative solutions to a widely undiagnosed disorder could expand access to care, increase diagnosis and treatment, and improve the nation’s health.”

First Place

The winning team was composed of Amy Bender, PhD, MS; Eric Chalmers, PhD; Magdy Younes, MD, PhD, FRCPC; Melinda Jackson, PhD; Richard Berry, MD; and Najib Ayas, MD, MPH. Their proposal, “Let’s Put the Sleep Back into Sleep Medicine,” recommends using the odds ratio product  — or ORP — to measure sleep efficiency and sleep apnea severity. The ORP is different from conventional sleep scoring in that it is a continuous metric from full wakefulness to  deep sleep, making it possible to detect changes in sleep depth within sleep stages and during wakefulness while also tracking changes in sleep depth on a reduced time scale. Preliminary research using the ORP to measure sleep efficiency allowed researchers to identify phenotypes for sleep apnea patients, which could help facilitate more personalized treatments for sleep apnea.

“This proposal fascinated the judges,” said Seixas. “It’s a fantastically innovative idea that includes precision medicine, finding ways in which we can tailor diagnostics as well as treatments for patients with sleep apnea.”

Second Place

The second-place team comprised Seema Khosla, MD; Rachel Marie E. Salas, MD, Med; John Mathias, BS; Barry Fields, MD, MSEd; Robert Miller, RPSGT, RST; and Jaspal Singh, MD, FAASM. The group proposed the creation of “MySleepVillage,” a web-based application offering an evidence-based, patient-centered, customizable community to provide seamless diagnosis, treatment, and support for patients with sleep apnea. The app would streamline patient communication and testing, connect with physicians, insurers, and medical equipment companies, and provide options for remote monitoring of CPAP usage. The team estimates that 10,000 app users could result in $42 million in health care savings.

“This team put together a wonderful proposal to bring together the entire ecosystem of people who manage sleep apnea,” said Seixas. “This one-stop shop would allow patients, providers, and payers to better coordinate the care of our patients.”

People’s Choice

The team selected as the People’s Choice winner was composed of Oleg Chernyshev MD, PhD; Luqi Chi MD; and Brian Toedebusch, BS, RPSGT. They proposed the creation of a “Mobile Sleep Medicine Model,” a sleep lab on wheels that could improve access to care and expand treatment availability to 80 percent of sleep apnea patients. The mobile unit would offer sleep disorders screening, testing, treatment, and follow-up care. The mobile sleep medicine model could deliver patient-centered sleep care directly to a patient in any setting: hospital, home, virtual telemedicine clinic, or in-person clinic.

View the winning presentations and proposals, as well as the four honorable mention submissions, on the AASM website.


About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is advancing sleep care and enhancing sleep health to improve lives. The AASM has a combined membership of 11,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals.