Active Duty Service Members, Primary Managers, and Administrators' Perspectives on a Novel Sleep Telehealth Management Platform in the U.S. Military Healthcare System

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Military medicine


INTRODUCTION: Sleep disorders are common in the military, and there is a gross shortage of sleep specialists in the military health system. The purposes of the present study were to (1) understand perceptions and expectations surrounding sleep telehealth approaches and (2) solicit feedback to optimize and refine a proposed novel sleep telehealth management platform. To accomplish these objectives, we investigated the perceptions, expectations, and preferences of active duty service members (ADSMs) with sleep disorders, primary care managers (PCMs), and administrative stakeholders regarding sleep telehealth management.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using convenience sampling, we conducted five focus groups with 26 ADSMs and 11 individual interviews with PCMs from two military treatment facilities in the U.S National Capital Region and 11 individual interviews with administrative sleep stakeholders (9 military and 2 civilian).

RESULTS: Active duty service members, PCMs, and administrative stakeholders provided insight regarding expectations for sleep telehealth as well as suggestions to optimize the novel sleep telehealth platform. In terms of outcomes, ADSMs expected sleep telehealth to improve sleep and convenience. Primary care managers expected improved sleep and other comorbidities, enhanced operational readiness, and reduced mortalities among their patients. Administrators expected increased access to care, optimized utilization of health services, realized cost savings, reduced accidents and errors, and improved military performance. In terms of the platform, for ADSMs, desired characteristics included delivery of timely clinical reports, improved patient-provider communication, and enhanced continuity of care. For PCMs and administrators,an ideal sleep telehealth solution will improve the diagnosis and triage of sleep patients, save PCM time, be easy to use, and integrate with the electronic health record system.

CONCLUSION: The proposed sleep telehealth platform appealed to nearly all participants as a significant force multiplier to enhance sleep disorder management in the military. Stakeholders offered valuable recommendations to optimize the platform to ensure its successful real-world implementation.

Medical Subject Headings

Delivery of Health Care; Humans; Military Personnel; Sleep; Sleep Wake Disorders; Telemedicine

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