23 Jun

Studies Show Sleep Apnea Puts You at Greater Risk of Developing Dementia

dementiaIt stands to reason that sleep apnea can have an adverse impact on cognitive function. After all, essentially, the condition limits oxygen to the brain; and many sufferers report feeling sluggish the following day, or unable to concentrate.

However, studies reveal that the problem may be more severe than originally thought. In fact, according to the results, it may speed up the onset of dementia and other related brain conditions. Read More

09 Apr

Asleep at the Wheel

sleep apnea 3Do you doze off while driving? If so, you are not alone. You may be surprised to learn that thousands of drivers will nod off while driving each and every day. For some of those who fall asleep while driving, tragedy will happen. This can result in injury or death to the driver, passengers, or to others on the road. But there is good news for those who have this problem.

Generally speaking, dozing off behind the wheel is caused by not getting enough good, restful sleep during the night before. There are can be many reasons for people to suffer from poor sleep, from the medical condition known as narcolepsy to poor sleeping habits. Thankfully, there are ways to treat most of the sleeping disorders and sleeping problems. Read More

19 Sep

Study: Too Little or Too Much Sleep Affects Job Performance

You might think that skipping sleep to put in more hours at your place of employment can actually be rewarding in terms of your job performance. According to a new study, that is actually not true. Staying awake for a few more hours on the job may actually hurt your work attendance in the long run, according to the first nationally representative study to examine the link between sleep and work absences.
Read More

18 Sep

Study: Sleep Apnea Makes High Blood Pressure Resistant to Treatment

A new study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine finds that sleep apnea (OSA) contributes to high blood pressure and makes hypertension resistant to treatment. The study, titled “Association of Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Elevated Blood Pressure Despite Antihypertensive Use,” shows that even patients who were under close care from heart specialists and who followed the national guidelines to treat cardiovascular risk still experienced uncontrolled blood pressure due to their untreated sleep apnea.
Read More

29 Mar

Blackstone Saves Day for PAP Companies (Press Release)

Tampa, Fla.—Blackstone Medical Services, an IDTF specializing in sleep apnea diagnosis
and telehealth solutions, uses proprietary cloud-based technology, providing patients and physicians better quality, access and cost—matching the nation’s shift to a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) approach.

No longer do CPAP companies need to wait outside pulmonologists’ doors for
referrals. Blackstone allows preferred DME providers to utilize its cloud-based portal to increase transparency and control over therapy when tests are being performed by PCPs and other physicians. Blackstone provides real-time feedback on which patients were previously tested and where each patient is in the process, allowing a DMEs a unified approach, one that hasn’t been available until now.

“Our model works because we are superior in the continuum of patient care,” said Vick Tipnes, president of Blackstone Medical Services. “We not only have the highest patient compliance in the industry but we also work seamlessly with DMEs. We ensure that they receive the best follow-up and treatment care from their physicians and DME providers. This reduces the cost of care delivery and enables better physician to DME care coordination.”

Blackstone’s model involves the use of the industry’s top testing device and board-certified sleep physicians. Its easily accessible services increase patients’ compliance with sleep studies. Research shows that patients are more likely to complete a sleep study from the comfort of their own home.

Blackstone’s model serves as the best of both worlds for all parties involved.

“Not only do patients get to complete the study where they’re more comfortable but doctors are able to retain more of their patients because they aren’t referring to specialists,” said Tipnes. “When doctors prescribe a home sleep study for their patients, they are the ones who can follow up with these patients, resulting in higher patient retention and less out of pocket for patients.”

Blackstone works with DME companies that follow the same standard of patient care. With this philosophy, together they can change the lives of those suffering from sleep apnea one home sleep test at a time.

About Blackstone:

BlackstoneMedical Services, a Medicare-approved, JCAHO-accredited and nationally recognized IDTF for home sleep testing and telehealth solutions based in Tampa, Fla., has over 12 million covered lives. It is focused on serving those suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and its services eliminate and significantly reduce hospital re-admissions and urgent care visits. OSA is a serious health concern and you should be tested. If you or a loved one suffers from fatigue or daytime sleepiness, call toll-free at 888-710-2727 or visit www.blackstonemedicalservices.com for more information.

05 Mar

Training Makes All the Difference

Last week, eight members of the Blackstone Medical Services team, myself included, underwent an intense, two-day training session focused on sales and proper selling techniques. The majority of us went in not knowing what to expect and thinking that this would be a waste of our time. I mean, let’s face it. Who wants to get behind in their work to partake in a 16-hour training?

We started the training at eight on Thursday morning. The instructor went over the general rules, handed us our training packets and started the course. We were not able to take notes—the instructor stated that by the end of this course we will know everything we need to know. The first assignment was to read 30 basic definitions related to marketing and sales. We were partnered up and told to quiz and coach each other through the training. After reviewing the 30 words with our “twin”, we were individually drilled by the instructor. Sounds easy? Guess again. If you messed up or fumbled on one word, regardless of how far along you were, you were told to begin again. It was grueling and frustrating, and it was clear that some of us were losing our patience.

Despite how much we hated the process, we had to continue in order to pass the course. Once we successfully memorized all 30 definitions, we were clear to move on to the next phase. Each phase was comprised of readings, essay responses and drills. Some of the tasks required us to be cleared by the instructor before moving on. By lunch, we were exhausted. The day continued on at the same pace.

Friday morning started session two of the training. We quickly got to work and picked up from where we left off. It was another day full of reading, writing and memorizing. Most of us thought our heads were going to explode from all of the information. By the end of the day Friday, however, we knew the information. We could recite these definitions and puzzles back to each other upon command.

To our surprise, the sales training was enlightening. It went over the basic concepts of marketing and sales, how to communicate effectively to ensure a close, and the difference between hard selling and hard pressuring. We knew all about the proper communication required to build relationships and make the sale. The activities and exercises were challenging but they helped us remember the general concepts of the course. We all walked out feeling empowered and ready to apply these tactics in our work. The entire training was tailored to our work at Blackstone Medical Services, so it was easy to see how we can apply these ideas to each task we complete. Not only do we feel better equipped in our job duties but we have also developed a bond and trust with the other members of our team. So, would we do this again? Absolutely!

19 Feb

Increase in late-night texting causes less daytime productivity

With society engulfed in a technologically-driven world, it’s no surprise that people are sleeping less each night. What’s to blame? According to studies, cell phones and computers are the biggest distractors.

Many sleep specialists have reported that texting is still on the rise, especially among adolescents and young adults. According to studies, teenagers send an average of 100 text messages a day and are now even responding to text messages subconsciously. It happens so frequently that it’s been given a name—“sleep texting.”

“The phone will beep [and] they’ll answer the text,” said Elizabeth Dowell, a nursing professor at Villanova University. “They’ll either respond in words or gibberish. [It] can even be inappropriate. Ex-girlfriends contacting ex-boyfriends, saying ‘I miss you; I want to see you.’ The thing that happens, though, is that when they wake up, there’s no
memory.”

And this doesn’t only happen to teenagers. Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist, told the Huffington Post that based on his conversations with patients, he believes that anyone who sleeps with a phone nearby is susceptible to this growing trend.

“It’s basically what we call an arousal disorder,” said Breus. “Somebody gets woken up but is not completely awake from the process of sleeping.”

The bottom line is that this behavior is negatively affecting the bottom line. According to a Harvard Medical School study, chronic exhaustion is costing the economy $63.2 billion in lost productivity. Because of this, employers nationwide are finding ways to encourage workers to sleep better at night. Experts suggest that adults should sleep seven to nine hours per night, while teenagers need more than that to function properly.

What can you do to improve your sleep schedule? The National Sleep Foundation suggests that you:

  1. Treat your bedroom as your sanctuary—by creating a comfortable, distraction-free area, your body will recognize your bedroom as a place to relax, thus allowing you to fall asleep faster.
  2. Adjust the lighting—turn off your phones, televisions and iPads one hour before hitting the hay. The light emitted from these devices stimulates your eyes and increases alertness levels. In addition, ensure your room will stay dark from the time you fall asleep until you wake up in the morning. Use curtains/shades if you don’t already.
  3. Establish a routine—when your body gets into a routine, it’s much easier to function day-to-day. It’s important to go to bed and wake up the same time every day. And yes, that means on weekends too!
  4. Cut the caffeine—it’s not a bad idea to skip that extra cup of coffee while watching the evening news. Experts recommend that you stop all caffeine consumption by 2 p.m. Eliminating large meals and alcohol before bedtime will also help you sleep better at night.
  5. Remember to exercise—Exercising isn’t just for looks. Exercising in the morning will also help you sleep better at night. Just remember to avoid rigorous exercising too close to bedtime.

15 Feb

The Real Difference Between HST and Sleep Facilities

Have you been told you need to complete a sleep
study? Are you torn between completing it at a sleep facility versus at home? What
are the differences? Are the results really the same?

Blackstone Medical Services offers those suffering from
obstructive sleep apnea the opportunity to complete a home sleep study rather
than spending the night at a sleep facility. Once you receive a prescription
for the test, a home sleep study device (about the size of a cell phone), is
shipped directly to your home. The package comes with detailed instructions,
along with an instructional video explaining how to perform the sleep study.
Once the study is completed, you ship the device back using the pre-paid
shipping label provided for you. It’s as easy that!

Because home sleep testing is a newer option, many
are skeptical to complete the test on their own. However, home sleep testing
offers many things that a sleep institute study cannot. For instance, you will
be able to move freely in any position during the study. This is highly
beneficial if you need to get up at any point during the night. At a sleep
facility, if you need to use the bathroom you must notify the sleep technician
so he/she can disconnect all of the wires. With a home sleep study, the small
device is attached around your chest and allows you to get up and move around. In
addition, your partner can sleep in the same bed during the study. This is much
more comforting and will allow you to maintain your normal sleep schedule.

Another benefit of home sleep testing is cost. Home
sleep studies, if the proper criteria are met, are covered by most insurance
plans. If you would prefer to self-pay, the out-of-pocket cost is $329. This is
significantly lower compared to the thousands it costs to have a study
conducted at a sleep lab.

Time also plays a major role in home sleep testing.
Although a home sleep test requires participation for two nights (compared to
the one night required by labs), the results arrive much quicker. Once the test
is ordered, the test may be completed in as little as 24 hours, as opposed to
the average 1-to-2 week waiting period for labs. The same can be said for the
reading of the results. Once the test is completed and the device is sent back,
it takes 24 hours to process the results. With a sleep lab, it may take up to
two weeks to receive the results upon completion.

So, is the quality of the results the same? YES! A
home sleep study device measures the same things that the sleep lab is
measuring—respiratory effort, snoring, pulse rate, oxygen saturation and body
position. However, home sleep devices do not monitor heart rhythms, brain waves
or eye and leg movements. What’s the difference? Home sleep studies specialize
in the diagnosis of sleep apnea while sleep facilities monitor for a variety of
sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome and REM sleep.

If you suspect that you or a loved one suffers from
sleep apnea, don’t spend thousands of dollars on traditional out-patient
facilities when you stay in your own home. Home sleep studies are more
affordable and less invasive. Visit our website for more information on home
sleep testing—www.blackstonemedicalservices.com.

06 Feb

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Worsens During Colder Months

Although obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an ongoing
condition, studies show that OSA symptoms tend to worsen during the winter
months and times of climate change.

A recent 10-year-study conducted by researchers at
the Chest Journal found that OSA patients experienced more breathing pauses
during colder months than warmer ones. This study,
based on findings of 7,500 patients participating in a one-night sleep study,
showed that patients stopped breathing an average of 18 times during the winter
and 15 times during summer months.

This shows that OSA may be negatively affected by
seasonal changes. In addition to temperature, weight change, allergies and
other various illnesses may cause OSA symptoms to worsen during as the year
progresses.

It’s important to understand that OSA can be life
threatening. If left untreated, sleep apnea may cause high blood pressure,
heart disease, stroke and depression. If you or someone you know suffers from
fatigue and/or daytime drowsiness, we can help! Call us toll-free at
800-710-2727 or visit www.blackstonemedicalservices.com
for more information on home sleep testing.

best live chat