Everyone knows that sleep is vital for optimal performance, perhaps especially for those in our military. And yet nearly 70 million Americans experience some type of sleep disorder—including 40% of U.S. service members. Now, in partnership with a startup called Noctem that provides telehealth-centric solutions for sleep issues, the University of Pittsburgh and the United States Navy want to see if telehealth might be able to help tackle these sleep disorders in service men and women. As Business Wire and mHealth Intelligence first reported, the two have joined forces to launch a new two-year telehealth program designed, as mHealth Intelligence sums up, “to test the effectiveness of a telehealth platform in helping the nation’s armed services get a better night’s sleep.” The company and the university received a $1.33 million award that it is using to develop and launch the program.
Though the traditional sleep therapy methods are effective, the limited availability of providers, significant costs, and difficult process for both patients and providers make these treatments less accessible. While a person suffering a sleep disorder can visit a specialist and participate in the necessary sleep tests, the new program hopes to allow service members to access the same tools, but in the comforts of their location. A similar sleep study using telehealth technology, a joint press release notes, was conducted on “post-9/11 service members and veterans in which [it was] reported that the use of connected health technology ‘yielded similar improvements in sleep, insomnia and daytime symptoms of depression and anxiety’ as traditional treatment.” Additionally, patients avoided the lengthy office visits and costs associated with traditional methods. This sounds like a win-win for both the patient and the provider. Hopefully, these programs using apps and smartphone- and web-based technology will continue to show positive results, as they certainly provide another way to make life a little bit easier and less costly for our service members.