Organisation of diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome: an international comparison
Health Services Research (HSR)
The obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome is quite a common sleeping disorder – one for which nearly 140,000 people are currently being treated in Belgium. The treatment most typically uses a “CPAP” (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device, which insufflates air into the respiratory tract whilst the person is sleeping. For its cost to be reimbursed in Belgium, this treatment systematically calls for a night of tests in the sleep laboratory, in a hospital, to confirm the diagnosis, whereupon another night in hospital is most often deemed necessary to adjust the treatment. However, the devices available nowadays make it possible to have the necessary measurements taken in the patient’s home – a situation that affords much greater comfort and guarantees a closer approximation to normal sleeping conditions. This also represents a sizeable cost saving for the healthcare sector.
We therefore suggested a few avenues to be explored for a reorganisation of the way the OSA syndrome is taken charge of and financed, giving priority to home diagnosis as much as possible. Other countries are already organising themselves in this way. We also recommend that a greater role be played by general practitioners, who should be able to prescribe a sleep test and handle the long-term monitoring of the treatments organised. Finally, we are of the view that better use could be made of remote surveillance.
KCE Reports 330: Organisation of diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome: an international comparison