Medhealth Outlook: Optimizing Health
Medhealth Outlook featured a cover story on Somnology in the most recent edition of the publication, highlighting Somnology’s commitment and focus on improving sleep, including our co-founders Dr. Melissa Lim and Patrick Yam. The full text of the article is included below, or you can use this link to access the article. If you are interested in viewing the full edition online, click here.
Somnology – Optimizing Health!
“There is no other hack to a sound sleep”
Every human spends a third of their life sleeping, but in the modern world, sleep is not being prioritized as it should. An estimated 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, which contribute to acute and chronic health problems including heart disease, diabetes, and depression. The economic cost of sleep treatment is steep, as high as over $400 billion to the U.S. economy per year, driving the need for more accessible, affordable, and widespread sleep care.led in this service can expect to improve efficiency and quality of work as well as overall workplace satisfaction.
Many of the traditional solutions to address sleep disorders are insufficient, expensive, or inaccessible by everyday Americans. Processing the data from the study can take up to one month, during which time an individual continues to suffer. Fortunately, at the beginning of the Digital Healthcare revolution with the convergence of science and technology, greater awareness is surrounding the importance of sleep health. An innovative company in this space is Somnology, offering a holistic, comprehensive, and patented sleep solution. Somnology is a digital sleep therapeutics company focused on optimizing health with its curated, medical-grade devices. The Somnology mobile app, and internet platform, work together to provide detailed sleep reports for certified sleep specialists to interpret and advise with confidence.
The Somnology Sleep Lab as a Service (SLaaS®) sleep care platform utilizes the best in technology, leveraging sophisticated wearable sleep tracking devices that can capture and transmit biometric data to HIPAA compliant servers matriculating data on Somnology’s proprietary algorithm. In this setting, trained sleep specialists can analyze data and recommend next steps, such as utilizing a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or partaking in a virtual telehealth program for ongoing support. “This approach has already improved sleep for thousands of individuals while curbing medical costs associated with diagnostics and treatment,” begins Patrick J. Yam, President & CEO, Somnology.
Improving Long-Term Sleep Quality
According to Somnology, individuals are as unique as their sleep patterns and sleep diagnoses, so Somnology emphasizes tailored care plans. While a war veteran may suffer from PTSD and night terrors, a transportation professional may simply need a change in their schedule. Sleep care delivery is hampered by key factors that are all addressed by Somnology which includes access to care, fragmented care, and the cost factors. Somnology utilizes telemedicine consultations with board-certified physicians and advanced care practitioners. Somnology’s medical director has an active medical license in over 30 states, with more to come, allowing the company to deliver care to residents of those states.
While the medicine’s current model of healthcare delivery is “nodal,” meaning that providers and patients do not keep in touch very well between visits, Somnology’s SLaaS® platform permits remote access to sleep data and reports. These reports contain actionable, personalized recommendations that are then reinforced by a dedicated team of healthcare advisors. Though sleep studies are expensive, and the consequences of poor sleep are costly, Somnology improves the patient experience and reduces costs by coordinating the stops on the journey, from initial consultations to testing to follow-up care and monitoring. Yam adds, “Somnology understands that health plans and employers have budgetary limitations, and don’t have the resources to cover every service that could potentially improve sleep health. What we try to do is help organizations understand that partial solutions are not sufficient and should not be an accepted norm to improve sleep quality long-term, in a measurable and meaningful way.”
The Somnology Ring
Making sleep-monitoring easier for patients, by way of digital therapeutics, is central to Somnology’s holistic sleep solution. Individuals who participate in Somnology’s program are given a wearable sleep tracking device, the SomnoRing®, which is embedded with tiny, sophisticated sensors to monitor sleep patterns. This is an optimal screening approach because it’s simple and starts by assessing initial sleep health in the individual’s regular, comfortable sleep setting—not a dark room on an unfamiliar bed. As the SomnoRing® measures sleep over several consecutive days, measurements are more accurate and reflect real-life sleep variations — say, a combination of consistently poor nights, and perhaps the occasional decent night of sleep, where interruptions and disturbances are minimal. This helps paint a more granular and accurate picture of the extent of an individual’s sleep health. If a follow-up diagnostic sleep study is needed, this may be done in the patient’s home or, on rarer occasions, in a sleep center.
Data obtained through the SomnoRing® are examined before and after the sleep study to help monitor sleep patterns over time, while a patient is on a treatment program. Data are continuously transmitted to our software platform, “SLaaS®,” so trained specialists can analyze sleep patterns, including sleep timing, duration, onset, and sleep stages. In addition, the SomnoRing® measures oxygenation during sleep, which gives the end-user and sleep specialist important information about their breathing patterns during sleep.
Also, having individuals wear SomnoRing® for extended periods enables the team to have access to a greater sample size of sleep data, increasing the confidence that the sleep patterns observed are truly representative. Somnology goes beyond consumer wearables by summarizing the data in the custom sleep reports which can help make further recommendations. “Individuals are empowered when they work with Somnology because not only is their sleep tracked on their terms in a convenient location, but also because they have access to Somnology’s sleep health specialists,” says Yam.
Finally, having ongoing support post-diagnosis is critical to optimizing sleep outcomes, which is why the telehealth component of Somnology’s solution is so critical. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, workers have had to contend with multiple stressors and mental-health challenges. An April 2021 study revealed that approximately half of adults (47 percent) are continuing to report negative mental health impacts related to worry or stress from the pandemic. “By helping individuals optimize sleep—and address sleep issues in a comprehensive and personalized way—we are truly helping them live their best and most productive lives,” explains Yam.
The Multi-Dimensional Solution
What makes Somnology stand out from the crowd is its multi-dimensional solution. “Our offerings aren’t targeted only to a certain type of elite consumer or demographic. We offer a comprehensive solution that enables more individuals to accurately measure sleep, receive diagnostic services and individualized treatments, and access ongoing telehealth support — all in a cost-effective way,” he adds.
The company’s varied clientele all focused on the same outcome: improvements in sleep quality and the reduction of sleep disorders. As such, Somnology works with multiple industries and organizations to achieve these goals while respecting the constraints of individuals’ occupations, lifestyles, and health histories. While explaining the value proposition of Somnology, Yam recalls an instance when they worked with the veterans. From July 2019 to August 2021, Somnology’s clinical team evaluated more than 10,000 veterans residing in all 50 U.S. states, with ages ranging from 20-89, for the presence of obstructive sleep apnea. Through a coordinated care model, from telemedicine assessment to home sleep testing, Somnology helped the VA reduce costs by more than 60 percent compared to the prior fee structure.
In the fall of 2020, Somnology and UCSF embarked on a research collaboration to test the usability of SomnoRing® for Medicaid patients who participate in the Health Plan of San Mateo Adult Sleep Apnea Program. The program has been administered by Somnology’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Melissa Lim, and clinical colleagues. The collaboration is with UCSF’s SOLVE (Surmounting Obstacles for Low Income and Vulnerable Populations Everyday using Health Technology) team. The first study officially launched in February 2021 with the main goal of evaluating the usability and acceptance of the SomnoRing® for monitoring sleep. The study has completed the enrollment of 30 participants and has conducted 20 in-depth interviews to date, with both primary English and native Spanish speakers. Analysis of the data is underway with the goal of final manuscript submission to a peer-reviewed journal and the initial study was so successful as to form the nidus a 5-year grant proposal submitted this year.
From Inception to Innovation
Somnology’s inception dates back to 2015, when Patrick Yam, CEO, and Chairman, and board-certified sleep specialist physician Dr. Melissa Lim, Chief Medical Officer, came together with a singular vision—to bring best practices in sleep medicine to light and to make a health impact for as many individuals as possible. In 2012, Dr. Lim created the first version of the MobileSleepDoc® Pro mobile app as a tool to help not only patients in her busy private practice, Redwood Pulmonary Medical Associates, but anyone with a smartphone who had trouble sleeping. After refining the app, and re-releasing it in 2014, she teamed up with Mr. Yam to create Somnology, Inc.
The biggest differentiator of Somnology is its leadership, with co-founders having extensive experience in sleep medicine and science-based interventions. Somnology’s leadership is committed to furthering the science of sleep and investing in sleep solutions that are sensitive to the needs of individuals in all markets and industries — whether transportation, medical, professional athletics or veterans’ health. “In the near future, we’re focusing on building even greater awareness around sleep health—not just by helping individuals in optimizing and prioritizing sleep, but in making them understand the consequences of ignoring it. Simultaneously, we’re expanding our reach, rolling out our solution to enterprises throughout the United States and internationally — including organizations that had been unaware of the costs they could have saved by adopting Somnology’s end-to-end solution, or SLaaS®,” concludes Yam.