There are four criteria that should be used to assess any sleep medicine provider’s services.
- The first criteria relates to the issue of accreditation by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
AASM accreditation is the gold standard by which physicians in the community and patients evaluate sleep medicine services. The accreditation process involves detailed reviews of policies, procedures, patient charts, and such things as inter-scorer reliability with regard to the sleep study data. Accreditation also ensures that services are provided in facilities providing optimal patient care.
- A second criteria has to do with the sleep center staffing.
Ideally, sleep disorder centers should be staffed with a multidisciplinary, multispecialty team of sleep disorder specialists. This would include board-certified sleep specialists in neurology, pulmonary medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, and otolaryngology. It is essential that the center staff include behavioral sleep medicine specialists who offer expertise in the treatment of insomnia, shift work sleep disorders, and other sleep-related problems requiring behavioral or cognitive behavioral interventions.
- A third criteria that should be assessed is the commitment of the practitioners to the field of sleep medicine.
Ideally, the core staff of the sleep center would have a practice limited to sleep disorders medicine. Sleep medicine should not represent a part-time effort or something that is done “on the side”.
- A fourth criteria relates to support services provided to patients within the sleep disorder center.
There should be full-time registered sleep technicians available at all times to patients, particularly those adjusting to sleep with nasal CPAP. These registered sleep technicians work closely under the supervision of the sleep specialists.