Interrater Reliability of In-Person vs. Telemedicine Evaluation for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

2017 Focused Projects Grant

Michael Yurcheshen, MD
University of Rochester

Key Project Outcomes

We study the accuracy of telemedicine in evaluating patients with sleep apnea. Telemedicine is simply the practice of medicine over an internet connection. This is an exciting technology that may allow patients to see a sleep doctor, but with greater convenience than traveling to an office. The technology is only useful, though, if it’s an accurate replacement to meeting in person.

Preliminarily, our research suggests that patients are getting increasingly used to this kind of technology. Most patients still have not used telemedicine to see a doctor, but many have used computers to email with their doctor. Also, 56% of the patients in our study thought that seeing a doctor with this kind of technology would be more convenient than seeing them in person. 33% would be willing to participate in telemedicine consultation if it were totally free, and 50% of patients would be willing to do a telemedicine consultation if it were no more expensive than a typical co-pay.

We are still processing our final results to see how accurate sleep doctors can be in diagnosing sleep apnea when they evaluate a patient remotely using telemedicine. The results of this analysis should be available in 2020.