VA ECHO Program Feasible for Management of Sleep Disorders

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VA ECHO Program Feasible for Management of Sleep Disorders
VA ECHO Program Feasible for Management of Sleep Disorders

THURSDAY, Dec. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (VA-ECHO) program is feasible for increasing comfort in managing common sleep complaints, according to research published online Dec. 15 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Elizabeth C. Parsons, M.D., from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, and colleagues describe the feasibility of a VA-ECHO program for sleep medicine, which creates a virtual learning community through video-teleconferencing, combining didactics with individualized clinical case review. Multidisciplinary providers were invited to attend up to 10 stand-alone sessions; they completed a needs assessment that was used to guide curriculum development.

The researchers found that 17 of the 39 program participants (44 percent) completed the summative program evaluation. Ninety-three percent of respondents anticipated practice change from the program, especially in patient education about sleep disorders. Improved comfort managing sleep complaints was reported, especially sleep disordered breathing, insomnia, and sleep in posttraumatic disorder (80 percent of respondents each). For those who attended zero to two sessions, major participation barriers included scheduling conflicts (62 percent) and lack of protected time (52 percent).

"Participants in a pilot sleep medicine VA-ECHO program report practice change and increased comfort managing common sleep complaints," the authors write "Future work is needed to identify objective measures of return on investment and address participation barriers."

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