Sleep apnea patients who received care from board-certified sleep medicine physicians and accredited sleep centers were two-times more likely to be adherent to positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy than those who received care from non-accredited centers and non-certified physicians, according to study results in the March 15 edition of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Patient satisfaction also was associated with physician certification, and timeliness of care was better at accredited centers, researchers found.

“We have demonstrated, under real-world conditions, that sleep center accreditation and sleep medicine board certification are important determinants of patient-centered quality metrics, such as adherence to PAP therapy, patient satisfaction, patient education, and timeliness of care delivery,” said lead author and principal investigator Dr Sairam Parthasarathy, associate professor of medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. “These results suggest that health policy decisions should be directed toward care pathways involving accredited facilities and board-certified physicians.”

“Board-certified sleep medicine physicians and the team of healthcare professionals at accredited sleep centers have the specialized training and expertise to provide high-quality, patient-centered care for people with a sleep illness,” said M. Safwan Badr, MD, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), which publishes the JCSM.

The study involved 502 patients with OSA at four sleep centers. Participants received an objective diagnostic evaluation using overnight polysomnography and completed validated questionnaires. Objective PAP therapy adherence was measured 3 months after therapy initiation.

According to the authors, this is the first multicenter, prospective, comparative effectiveness study performed in the real-world setting to show favorable effects of physician certification and center accreditation on objective PAP adherence in patients with OSA.