Wednesday, March 14, 2007

March 15th Let’s Talk Sleep Podcast Guest: Lena Kauffman, Sleep Review Editor

My guest on a new podcast that will air March 15th on Let’s Talk Sleep will be Lena Kauffman, editor for Sleep Review who recently conducted interviews with five members of the Sleep Community for the Sleep Review Home Testing Podcast Series. Kauffman’s guests included Dr. William C. Dement, Dr. Barbara Phillips, Dr. Michael J. Breus, Dr. Dominic A. Munafo, and Dr. David White. The Kauffman podcast will be available to listeners through Let’s Talk Sleep or iTunes by no-cost, direct download.

Kauffman has been the editor of Sleep Review, The Journal for Sleep Specialists since 2005. She is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and, as a medical science reporter and editor, has covered such diverse fields as home health care and diagnostic imaging.

Due to the issue being laden with controversy, no matter what is said about home sleep monitoring -- either for or against the issue – it appears that someone is distressed. The mainstream media had an overwhelming response to the recent study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine that found home testing for sleep apnea to be as effective as in-laboratory polysomnography in terms of patient outcomes. The study title is
Diagnosis and Initial Management of Obstructive Sleep Apnea without Polysomnography: A Randomized Validation Study. There have been a number of posts about the topic on the sleep forums at

Having dialogue is a positive in that it is the responsibility of the Sleep Community to talk about these issues and concerns now and come up with solutions, guidelines and standards. Once the door is opened to home monitoring, those administering testing at home may not come from sleep backgrounds, thus potentially placing quality patient care at risk.

One of the most visible mainstream media reports on home testing came from FOX News Channel's resident medical expert Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld on Sunday Housecall who recently gave his opinion that there was no longer the need to go to sleep centers for testing he termed “a whole big deal” that may not always be necessary, and that people should look to home testing for a simpler approach. After the Annals of Internal Medicine study was released, there were numerous articles that appeared in the mainstream media, but were not comprehensive enough.

“The important thing about the mainstream media giving short headlines and sound bites on research studies is that patients and physicians read only this one little thing, and not be aware of the more complex issues,” Kauffman said. “By creating forums where experts can debate these issues, even if they are more devisive for a field, helps bring out more information in response to the studies.”

In the Sleep Review Podcast Series on Home Testing, guest opinions ranged from support for home testing to home testing being "a tempest in a teapot" and unnecessary. Kauffman gives a media expert opinion and overview of the messages relayed through the Sleep Review podcasts and covers educating insurers about home testing, existing reimbursement issues, the Veteran Administration’s current utilization of home sleep testing exclusively for its patients, and the fact that some private insurers are paying for home testing through contractual agreements with home testing companies.

I feel certain that many of you will be following the issue on home testing closely. I feel that as media members, Kauffman and Sleep Review represent an integral arm of the Sleep Community and that they chose to bring forth this very important issue using responsible journalism by informing readers and raising awareness. Kauffman invites listeners and readers to contact her with their ideas about home testing at

Be well, Sleep well,


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