Ambulatory models of care for obstructive sleep apnea: diagnosis and management
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The high prevalence of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and increasing awareness of its potential health consequences has placed significant pressure on laboratory-based sleep services leading to growing waiting lists and delays in diagnosis and treatment. Consequently, there has been increasing interest in the use of simplified, ambulatory models of care involving clinical prediction tools, portable sleep monitoring and home autotitrating continuous positive airway pressure. Researchers are also exploring the potential role for a wider range of health-care providers, including trained nurses and general practitioners, in the primary management of OSA. Recent randomized, controlled studies evaluating the clinical effectiveness of ambulatory management strategies versus traditional laboratory-based care for patients with OSA have consistently demonstrated that comparable patient outcomes can be achieved. The cost-effectiveness of these strategies is currently being debated, and further research examining the long-term economic implications of ambulatory models of care is needed.
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