University of Arizona College of Medicine Tucson Professor Sairam Parthasarathy, MD, has award nearly $1.4 million for a peer support program for sleep apnea patients. The funding from the Patient Center Outcomes Research Institute will be use by Dr. Parthasarathy and his research team to implement the findings of a previous research project in which peers were train to help patients starting treatment for sleep apnea.
The program will be made available to patients at Banner University Medicine clinics in Tucson and later will be expand to 11 centers in six states within the Banner Health system; in which more than 11,000 sleep studies are conduct and 9,000 patients are seen annually for sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea is a health condition in which the muscles of the throat relax during sleep; causing reversible and momentary episodes of obstruction of the throat accompanied by loud snoring with sleep interruption and a drop in blood oxygen levels.
Common sleep apnea disorder
The condition affects as much as 12% of the U.S. population; also of those who have sleep apnea, nearly 50% are not adherent to the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. Poor CPAP adherence is associate with increase; so risk for fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events; so such as heart attacks and strokes. In addition, adherence to CPAP therapy has with as much as a threefold reduction in fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events.
Others involve with the project are Stuart F. Quan, MD, professor emeritus at the UA and the Gerald E. McGinnis Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Sandipan Bhattacharjee, PhD, assistant professor, pharmacy practice and science, in the UA College of Pharmacy; and consultants Jerry Krishnan, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and public health; also associate vice chancellor for population health sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Adam Amdur of the American Sleep Apnea Association, a patient advocacy group.
“Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder condition that affects 1 in 10 people in this country with major health consequences when left untreated,” said UA President Robert C. Robbins, MD. “They are leaders in the study of sleep and its long-term impact on our overall health and recovery. Dr. Parthasarathy and his team of researchers develop an innovative solution to a health-care problem with major implications.”
Commitment to engaging patients
“This project was select for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit; also commitment to engaging patients and other health-care stakeholders in a major study conduct in real world settings; but also for its potential to answer an important question about the effective treatment of sleep apnea and to fill a crucial evidence gap,” said Joe Selby, MD, MPH, executive director of PCORI.
The findings that will be implement result from a research project titled, “Does a Peer Support Program Improve Satisfaction with Treatment among Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It often takes years for new evidence from clinical research to influence health care, according to PCORI. Many times, these findings never reach patients and families who could benefit from the information.
PCORI offers awards that support adapting evidence for specific contexts; incorporating that evidence to inform decisions, and integrating evidence into work flows or other processes in a sustainable way. PCORI fund research teams can propose projects to bring findings from their complete studies into practice in real-world settings. The UA study was select through a highly competitive review process in which patients, caregivers and other stakeholders joined scientists to evaluate the proposals.