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Adventures in Sleep

The Best Time to Plan Is Now

Published February 7, 2013 8:54 AM by Amy Reavis

It's still early in the year, and things move a bit slower. I find this is the best time for me to look over what worked and did not work over the last year and to plan a course of action moving forward. This year is particularly important as the economy has changed how we do business.

As I look at the changes in the environment I have to take into account the fact that competitive bid has moved forward and the new requirements for the follow-up of these patients have increased while the reimbursement has gone down for the DME companies. My choices of where to send an order have decreased and service by those companies -- as well as how that company is structured -- is more important. 

I have also had to reevaluate how we operate as we have increased business by about 40% during the last 5 months. This change has profound effects on how everything is done from scheduling to CPAP follow-ups. 

So how am I going to go about creating a new plan for my department?  I happen to like doing a SWOT analysis. It looks at four quadrants: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. If I put all this on paper it is a great tool for creating a stronger department. My biggest problem in creating a SWOT graph is that I tend to focus on problems and I forget it is just as important to look at the positives. It is also helpful if I have input from others both in my department and those we have to interact with. 

Since our department is small we will work together on the SWOT analysis (for an excellent sample and free template clock here), and then our one-year plan. I believe this will help the staff be part of the growth and see how their growth as technicians will play into the growth of the department.   

I am also going to focus on how best to market and help those with minimal or no insurance. This is becoming a larger population as the unemployment rate reached 12% in our part of the country.  The problem is that people have to deal with their health whether they have insurance or not. But we need to find a way to help these people that is affordable. This is where I think home sleep testing has the opportunity to grow and expand if the doctors do a good job of screening. With the right tools I am sure we may be able to help more patients to be treated in spite of the insurance issues.

I look forward to our growth over the next year and I am sure that with the changes that are going on in healthcare, this year will be as exciting as the last year was.


I agree that more organized & structured education & training is needed. I've had the experience of orienting & working with a range of skill levels from RTs with BS to CNAs with 20 years experience.  I disagree that having an indepth RT degree would make them better.  That has not been my experience.  I do agree tho that a medical background should be mandatory to entering the field.  If a cosmetologist needs anatomy & physiology in order to cut, color & style hair, then surely a sleep tech needs no less.

penny mehaffey, SLEEP - LPN RPSGT RST February 12, 2013 9:02 AM

Here is another topic to add to the list of the ever changing Sleep world...Should Sleep techs be setting up Cpap/ Bipap/ASV in the home? In contrast to Another discussion, "entry level" or OJT tech's, they dont have the in depth background of anatomy and phys of the brain, respiratory system, cardiac, etc...As a RT, i enchanced my training with an A-step program, which made a difference to me in understanding the technical portion of the role of sleep in medicine.

Not just the technical aspect, hook up, impedence, but full circle of these patients who suffer from OSA, Complex Sleep Apnea, the physiology of how and why..The field is totally in "flux", the leaders in the industry should come together, and mandate a degree program to become a "professional " and be recognized as such, Professional~

CRT-SDS February 12, 2013 5:01 AM

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    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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