Philips Launches App, Web Platform for Sleep Apnea

Philips has introduced SleepMapper, a mobile app and Web-based platform for patients suffering from sleep apnea to provide guidance on their sleep therapy.

Philips Respironics has launched SleepMapper, an app for iOS and Android that allows patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to get direction on how to use devices that improve their breathing while sleeping.

Philips Respironics is a division of Royal Philips Electronics.

Launched on April 24, SleepMapper provides videos and educational materials to guide patients on how to use their positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy devices, which blow air into the upper respiratory system to reduce blockages to prevent the upper airway from collapsing while the patient is asleep.

The app allows patients to troubleshoot problems encountered while using the Philips Respironics System One PAP devices, which consist of an air tube and a mask. The System One device has a Bluetooth sensor that transmits data to the SleepMapper app.

SleepMapper provides data on each night's treatment, such as the length of continuous usage of the PAP device during the night and the percentage of mask fit.

Users can also remove an SD card from the PAP device and connect it to their PC to access the SleepMapper server, according to Mark Aloia, senior director for global clinical research at Philips Healthcare.

A narrowing or closing of the upper airway leads to OSA, causing a disruption in breathing during sleep commonly referred to as snoring. OSA affects about 4 percent of men and 2 percent of women in the United States, according to the World Association of Sleep Medicine.

When untreated, OSA can cause heart arrhythmias, heart failure, high blood pressure or stroke.

"The idea behind SleepMapper is really to take empirically tested methods that allow people to make positive behavior changes and apply that to the problem of sleep apnea," Aloia told eWEEK. Positive behaviors consist of adherence to sleep therapy and wearing the PAP masks while sleeping.

"People don't want to change their sleep behaviors, and it's a struggle for a lot of patients," Aloia.

Nonadherence is an obstacle for patients to get a maximum benefit out of the PAP devices, he noted.

"SleepMapper provides patients with a clear path for learning to manage treatment of their OSA," Aloia said.

Philips created SleepMapper to allow patients to feel more confident in their ability to manage sleep therapy and have some accountability for following their treatment routine, Aloia said.

The app features videos on how to use the sleep apnea devices and provides guidance on how to fix problems such as leaks in a mask.

In addition, the app allows patients to set goals for their treatment based on a protocol called Motivational Enhancement Therapy. "These are the empirically tested techniques for setting reachable goals," Aloia said.

SleepMapper is also a tool care providers can present to patients to increase compliance with the OSA treatment regimen. It allows patients to send the data to their doctors.

Other devices that offer mobile sleep monitoring include the Jawbone Up and Fitbit wristbands.