Any company, regardless of your industry or product, requires employees who are alert and productive in order to succeed. But what can you do if your employees don’t even realize that they aren’t getting the restorative sleep they need to thrive? A bad night’s sleep happens to the best of us, but that fatigue can be much more detrimental than simply having a late night or taking the dog out multiple times. The fact of the matter is, 1 in 3 Americans are not getting the restful sleep they need to perform at their best. And this interrupted sleep can lead to far more costly health problems later on.
How Common is Sleep Apnea?
It’s more than likely that a large portion of your company’s workforce, regardless of background or genetic factors, suffers from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA. Over 30 million Americans are diagnosed with OSA every year, and these individuals are significantly more likely to miss work, experience long-term sick leave, and seek transitions to permanent disability.
In conjunction with excessive fatigue, lack of focus, and slowed productivity, OSA can lead to far more frightening health concerns like diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, and cancer. For modern businesses, the health of your employees is imperative to growth and profit, and the cost down the road of treating these kinds of health concerns are staggering.
Sleep Apnea’s Impact On Employee & Company
Especially when gone untreated, even the more benign side effects of untreated sleep apnea can lead to poor performance and increased medical insurance costs. On average, these side effects result in about $3,000 more dollars per year spent on healthcare costs when compared to employees without sleep apnea.
None of this even mentions the cost to the employer if employees are too tired or sleep-deprived to focus on being productive during work hours. Much like sleepy drivers, sleepy workers can make mistakes or errors that cost the company money or, in more severe situations, exhaustion can cause accidents that delay progress and potentially cause worksite accidents. The latter is especially concerning for jobs that require sustained physicality, such as in warehouses, factories, or for long-haul truck drivers.
By spending your company’s resources on the costs of testing for sleep apnea, you’re ensuring that your employees are getting the prescription treatment they need to be alert and productive. Sustained untreated sleep apnea will inevitably lead to the consistent lack of productivity for the individual employee that the company will pay for. By using business resources wisely, employers can avoid paying out the nose for time off with sleep apnea-related health issues and unproductive employee time due to fatigue.
Who Benefits From Sleep Apnea Testing?
Testing for sleep apnea is always the best course of action for those who believe they may suffer from this common sleep disorder. When understanding the long-term benefits of treated OSA, your employees will feel that the company cares for them as an individual, especially once they begin treatment and see the incredible benefits of healthy, rejuvenative sleep.
The benefits of a good night’s sleep go beyond the home and will translate into employees who are more alert, focused, and invested in the company’s overall well-being. This can also lead to improved relationships between coworkers, superiors, and subordinates, creating an improved workflow process for all projects and deadlines.
From an employer’s perspective, it is in the best interests of the employee and the company because it will improve the employee’s well being—not to mention, treatment costs for OSA are only one-third the healthcare costs for untreated employees.
The benefits to the employer are seemingly endless. You will have more alert, engaged, and productive employees who experience the long-term health benefits of restorative, regular sleep. Testing for sleep apnea will lead to an increase in diagnoses—it’s estimated that over 80% of moderate to severe cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed—in order to stop the disorder from causing other issues later on. Having happier, healthier employees will greatly impact overall productivity as well as morale. And, when companies have happy employees, those companies will see direct benefits in their workers, the company as a whole, and the bottom line.
Types of Testing: In-Lab & At-Home
There are two surefire ways to test an employee for sleep apnea: an in-lab study or an at-home sleep test. While testing for more vitals, in-lab tests are unnecessary for employees who have a high-likelihood of suffering from sleep apnea. Rather, in-lab testing’s complexity is more appropriate for those who believe they may be suffering from more specialized sleep disorders like narcolepsy, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome. Without mentioning how uncomfortable and awkward they are, in-lab tests are also expensive, averaging between $2,000 to $4,000, and may not lead to more answers than an at-home test would.
While being the more cost-effective and timely option, at-home sleep testing allows the employee to take the test from the comfort of their own home, in their own bed. Once they complete the home test, their results are sent back to the test provider and examined by board-certified sleep physicians. Upon receiving their results, employees will be contacted by a patient care representative who will review their treatment options with them.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure therapy, or CPAP. There are several different variations on this therapy, including automatic positive airway pressure (AutoPAP) or bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP). These treatments are extremely effective and far more cost effective than care for untreated sleep apnea side effects. Plus, when a company provides testing for employees it helps them get the treatment they need because a prescription is required for CPAP or similar treatment. While sleep studies are an expensive way to get the same diagnosis and prescription, an at-home sleep test gets you similar results with quicker path to treatment.
Provider Programs: Options to Fit Your Company’s Needs
Many providers, including ApneaMed, provide programs for companies that wish to extend sleep apnea testing and treatment benefits to their employees. There are different types of partnerships available to your company based on what kind of needs your employees have. If you’re looking for a simple option, you can opt for a referral partnership. In this program, if you have an employee who reports experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, you can have them fill out a referral form and get in contact with ApneaMed’s patient care specialist to schedule an at-home sleep test.
For businesses looking for something faster, you can also sign up for an In-Office Partnership where ApneaMed will send you a white label home sleep test unit on hand for employee health screenings. This way, you can send the unit home with the employee to begin the testing and analysis process sooner.
However, ApneaMed knows that the process of managing which employees may need sleep testing can be difficult to manage. So, for companies looking for the best service, we offer a Mail-Out Partnership where your HR team can order home sleep tests for any employee who may need it. Then, ApneaMed will mail out the test to the employee and have them send it back upon testing completion, expediting the process and getting the employee, and employer, seeing productivity increases sooner. This productivity will enhance the way your business runs because your employees will be healthier, happier, more alert, and highly productive.
Do your research and make the steps necessary to start offering sleep apnea testing benefits to your employees so they can get the treatment they need to be healthy and help your company succeed.