Takeaways From Telehealth Use in Sleep Medicine: Lucas Donovan, MD, MS


The assistant professor in the division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at the University of Washington discussed patients’ response to the use of telehealth when treating sleep disorders. [WATCH TIME: 2 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 2 minutes

“Our main takeaway from this study is that patients who experience telehealth encounters in sleep medicine really tend to appreciate it. I think the main action item that we appreciate from this study is that we do need to pay attention to the areas where telehealth does not meet patient's needs.”

Discussing the use of telehealth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Lucas Donovan, MD, MS, commented on its integration into the field of sleep medicine in a recent conversation with NeurologyLive. Donovan discussed findings from a recent study, which recruited participants with sleep disorders between June 2019 and May 2020, all of whom had 1 of 3 types of telehealth encounters—in-clinic video, home-based video, or telephone.

Donovan, who is a an assistant professor in the division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at the University of Washington, and a core investigator at the Seattle-Denver Health Services Research & Development Center of Innovation at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System’s Seattle Division, spoke on the positive response from patients when using telehealth, as well as the importance of acknowledging when a virtual visit may not be the best option, such as when a physical exam is necessary. Further, he said that there may be room for innovation within the field by finding a way to remotely perform tasks that are normally done in person, namely continuous positive airway pressure mask fitting. 

Donovan LM, Mog AC, Blanchard KN, et al. Patient experiences with telehealth in sleep medicine: a qualitative evaluation. J Clin Sleep Med. 2021;17(8):1645–1651. doi:10.5664/jcsm.9266

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