The Sleep Forum and World Sleep Society have come together to produce a podcast series about sleep as we countdown to World Sleep Day on March 13, 2010.

In this podcast, Doug Green, Publisher of The Sleep Forum and Allan O’Bryan, Executive Director of The Sleep Society speak with guest speaker, Dr. Jeffrey Durmer, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer, Fusion Health which is now Nox Health.

O’Bryan explains to our listeners that “world sleep society is a non-profit, membership based organization representing sleep researchers and clinicians around the world focusing on awareness and education. Our leadership is volunteers looking to promote sleep worldwide. We use World Sleep Day as opportunity for our membership reach out to the public and highlight the importance of sleep.”

Durmer tells the listeners that Fusion Health is a company that was co-founded with a colleague from Iceland. He started his career by comparing the research they were doing in Iceland in sleep and restless leg syndrome (rls) to the United States and was especially interested in the devices they were using to diagnose it. He soon realized that the devices they were using in the labs could be used with patients at home.

Fusion Health merged with Nox Medical and became Nox Health. They have spent the last decade "providing population sleep health programming to large companies, sports teams and organizations to identify sleep disorders and associated risk factors." Once identified, Nox Health provides telebased sleep medicine, treatment and follow up. This (sleep health) is a growing trend across big companies, says Durmer.

Durmer describes how a power company down south used the Nox Health platform to help identify fatigue and sleep related problems among their employees and alert employees about the importance of sleep. "Not only does our platform identify and access risk factors for RLS, insomnia or apnea but also provides programs for mindfulness and meditation as a solution for some of those patients," says Durmer.

The goal is to identify those with a sleep disorder or risk for a sleep disorder and allow them to receive medical care. Employers that invest in sleep health for their employees are realizing the return on investment with a decrease in accidents, heart disease and mental health.

"The technologies we are using with these companies are the same as the hardware I first saw in Iceland together with a work flow platform that quickly identifies people in their environments where they sleep and work," says Durmer. He shares that the technologies being used are portable and will quickly detect a sleep disorder or risk for sleep disorder. The next step would involve a prescription and follow up via telemedicine. Durmer says, "the mission is to solve a problem before it becomes a bigger problem."

When asked what he thought of sleep trackers, Durmer had mixed opinions. On one hand, some people are now suffering from insomnia because of the sleep trackers. On the other hand, some people are thinking their sleep is fine (and it is not) because of a sleep tracker. The main concern is connecting our wearables into systems that provide medical care means a whole different level of security. The platform that is transmitting personal health data needs to be secure. Durmer did mention the Oura ring as a wearable that many athletic teams use as a way share and monitor their sleep, especially across time zones or when traveling.

Durmer talks about his work with the RLS Foundation as a Board member and the Georgia Association of Sleep Professionals.

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