Sleep telemedicine: patient satisfaction and treatment adherence

Telemed J E Health. 2011 Oct;17(8):609-14. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2011.0025. Epub 2011 Aug 22.


Objective: Obstructive sleep apnea is common, but access to diagnosis remains limited. Telemedicine may allow greater access to care; however, its effect on patient satisfaction and treatment adherence is unknown. This study compares patient satisfaction and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) adherence of patients seen by videoconference with those seen in person.

Materials and methods: New patients seen via video or in person at a sleep center completed a survey, with three questions pertaining to satisfaction with the provider. Questions were scored 1-5; the sum was the patient satisfaction score. CPAP adherence was retrospectively analyzed in patients who met the physician via video or in person. Percentage of nights CPAP was used for ≥4 h and average minutes of CPAP use per night over 2 consecutive weeks were compared.

Results: A Mann-Whitney test compared patient satisfaction of the 90 subjects (of whom, 56 met physician in person and 34 via video). Mean scores (in person, 14.82; video, 14.91; p=0.851) did not differ between groups. Mann-Whitney tests compared CPAP adherence in the 172 subjects (of whom, 111 met physician in person and 61 via video). Mean percentage of nights CPAP was used ≥4 h (in person, 71%; video, 65%; p=0.198) and the average minutes per night of CPAP use (in person, 340.55; video, 305.31; p=0.153) did not differ between groups.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that patients were equally satisfied with their provider and adherent to CPAP treatment whether they were seen in person or via video. Videoconferencing may improve access to patient care without reducing patient satisfaction or treatment adherence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Videoconferencing
  • Young Adult