The High Price of Fatigue

After the September 29 crash in Hoboken that killed one woman and injured more than 100 people when a commuter train crashed into a station, New Jersey Transit now requires that engineers suffering from sleep apnea (OSA) must have the disorder under control before they will be allowed to operate trains. The transit agency had previously allowed engineers with sleep apnea to keep Train_BlogPostworking as long as they were being treated. Now, those suffering from the disorder will be banned from operating trains until they get medical certification that the condition has been corrected or controlled. (The engineer in the Sept. 29 crash was found to have sleep apnea.)

Fatigue in the workplace and undiagnosed sleep apnea are far more prevalent than you might think, and can have dangerous results. In its 2010 report, “The Price of Fatigue: The Surprising Economic Costs of Unmanaged Sleep Apnea,” Harvard Medical School reported on hidden health care costs resulting from undiagnosed sleep disorders. The statistics are staggering.

According to the Harvard report, the annual health care costs of co-morbidities and obstructed sleep apnea-linked traffic and workplace accidents runs from $45 – 80B annually. And that’s just in the U.S. In addition, the report estimates the cost of OSA-driven absenteeism in terms of loss of productivity to be $5 – 15B.

Further, the report puts the annual economic cost of moderate to severe OSA in the U.S. at $65 – 165B, which is greater than asthma, heart failure, stroke and hypertensive disease combined.

On top of these astronomical costs is the fact that nearly 85% of people suffering from sleep apnea (OSA) have not been diagnosed and a lack of general awareness persists. The Harvard report notes that, “Awareness, diagnosis, and treatment of OSA are limited by the economics and nature of the condition…Current technology, while effective at treating the disease, is cumbersome and uncomfortable for many. Low patient compliance limits the cost effectiveness of treatment for payors.”

According to Patrick Yam, CEO of Somnology, Inc., “With the convergence of healthcare and telemetry, monitoring devices such as the Plex® Sleep Scanner will have a huge impact on the identification and awareness of sleep disorders, and provide a more accessible solution to many who suffer from sleep disruptions.”

Optimize your sleep, health and performance.

Learn more about the Plex® Sleep Scanner home monitoring system and Somnology’s App SomnologyMobileDoc and begin gathering useful data on your sleeping behavior to help identify sleep disorders. Share the information with your physician for further treatment.

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