Sleep Medicine 2010: Change is Good
If there is one thing that I know from watching this past year it is that those who can embrace change will be the most successful. We have so many changes in the field--some of them worked and some did not-- but all in all it has help us to change into a field of strong professions with a vision of the future. Next year will be bringing even more changes and I expect that the strong entrepreneurial spirit of those who have entered the field will shine.
Education will be the biggest change in our field over the next year. We have people who are coming up on their time to renew their credentials. We have added credentials. We have grown as a profession. With those changes, we have a larger need than ever for education. College programs in sleep will be growing. Some will be add-ons for respiratory programs, but I think the biggest growth will be in freestanding programs for certificates or degrees.
We will also be adding education for new technicians to achieve their certification. This new look at the field will require people to buy into a career pathway versus a job mentality as they enter the sleep profession. We will need new job descriptions and paths of advancement. As a field, this is exciting. This allows people to see there are options in the field and it is not just day tech and night tech.
Continuing education will also grow. Online education will experience the largest growth because of the shifts that we as a profession work. Online education allows people to experience education at times that are convenient to them rather than trying to stay awake all day while sitting in a conference.
The other issue driving force is financial. Online classes can be more cost effective due to lower overhead. Speakers can hold the class from the comfort of their home or office. This reduces the need to rent expensive rooms and pay travel expenses.
The technology allows for interaction and has the added benefit of being recorded and shared with those who could not attend the life program. If a person is viewing the recording and has questions it is easy to email the instructor and get feedback.
Competitive bidding will also be around again, affecting how equipment is ordered and who will be setting it up. This change will affect some labs and how they are run as well as affecting the ability to get data from equipment like Encore Anywhere which is more costly than a simple CPAP machine.
There is also the big unknown. With the change in our economy and the unknown of what will be happening in healthcare really will cause those of us in sleep to look at how we will market and change to keep up.
This is why I know with our strong sense of independence and adaptability we are going to thrive over the next year. We will grow in ways we never imagined. I, for one, look forward to it.