Is a Home Sleep Test as Good as an in lab Sleep Test?

What is a Home Sleep Test, and is it as good as in lab sleep test?

Home Sleep Test

It’s exciting to see the advancements in sleep medicine.  Along with all the changes taking place in the insurance industry, Technology, and the economy in general. Many of these developments are changing how sleep studies are performed. For instance, a Home Sleep Test is becoming more common.

So, let’s take a rather brief look at a Home Sleep Test, and see how it compares with an in lab sleep study.

About Insurance

First of all, insurance is a major player in sleep medicine. And in order to keep premiums down, insurance companies push for the least expensive tests. The reason behind this is that the less the insurance company pays out, the lower your premiums will be; which makes sense. There’s also the economic pressure to keep costs down.

Now consider that one Technologist can do two, maybe three in lab sleep studies at a time. However, that same Technologist can handle more Home sleep tests at once. And a Home Sleeps test, or HST doesn’t cost as much. So you can see where this trend is going.

But, are HST’s as good as in lab sleep tests? Let’s first take a look at the type of sleep tests available. Then we’ll look at a typical Home Sleep Study. We’ll also compare costs and see who can have an HST. I’ll also explain why some people shouldn’t have an HST; in fact, can’t even qualify for one.

Types of Sleep Tests

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS defines 4 types of sleep studies, based on what’s being monitored. A type 1 study is an in lab sleep study,  attended by a Technologist. This has been the gold standard of sleep tests, as it’s the most thorough.

Types 2-4 are home studies. These studies are defined by the number of channels recorded. Type 2 studies record more channels than type 3 studies. While type 4 studies record the fewest channels. And while an in lab study can test for a whole range of sleep disorders, an HST only monitors breathing.

Another downside to an HST is that something can come unhooked during the night while you’re sleeping. And that could make the study incomplete.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a typical Home Sleep Test.

A Typical Home Sleep Test

You go into the sleep center the evening of your study and pick up the equipment needed for the night. The Technologist will go over everything with you; showing you how to put things on, and should answer your questions.

Then, in the comfort of your own home, you hook yourself up and (hopefully) go to sleep. In the morning, you bring the equipment back to the sleep center, where they’ll download your data. If it’s determined that you need CPAP, you’ll be set up with what’s called an auto-PAP machine. This type of device is set to automatically change pressures through the night based on how you’re breathing.

You can keep the auto-pap. But you might also have the option to get a CPAP machine. In that case, you’ll bring the auto-pap in and they’ll download the data. Then they’ll  use that to determine your optimal pressure. And they’ll give you a CPAP machine set to your best therapy level.

Other Home Sleep Test Information

Cost of a Home Sleep Test vs an in lab study

An in lab study can run anywhere from $600, to $5,000; with an average being around $1,000. However, a Home Sleep Test runs anywhere from $150 to $500. And insurance covers both.

Who should not have an HSAT?

A Home Sleep Test just monitors breathing. Therefore, it only detects sleep apnea, but none of the other sleep disorders. That’s why a careful assessment of your medical history is important. For example, if you have any heart or lung conditions, you might need an in lab study.

Other reasons you might need an in lab study

If your Doctor suspects you might have some other sleep disorder, he/she could order an in lab study. And anyone 18 years and younger would need an in lab study as well.

So, While A Home Sleep Test is becoming more common, it’s not for everyone. And even with all the advancements in sleep medicine, there might always be a place for in-lab sleep studies.

Conclusion

We’ve taken a rather brief look at a Home sleep test. We’ve seen the advantages of an HST. And also discovered why a Home Sleep Test isn’t for everyone. We’ve also seen why this type of test might become more common in the future.

How about you? Have you had a Home Sleep Study?  Would you like to share your experience? Or do you have questions about HST’s vs in lab studies? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Till next time…Blessings.

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