The National Sleep Foundation (USA) reports that sleep deprivation, not cancer or coronary illness, now constitutes the number 1 killer in the Western World. It is estimated that 1/3 of New Zealand’s population will suffer from a sleep disorder during their lives while another 1/3 are dangerously sleep deprived. Experts claim that sleepiness is ‘the smoking gun of the modern age and fear that unless we radically shift our attitudes towards sleep we are heading towards a medical meltdown.
Establishing if your employees have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, is critical. Not only can an individuals health be adversely affected if it goes untreated, but the likelihood of a fatigue-related accident dramatically increases, putting not only themselves but also their colleagues and the community at risk.
Due to the nature of the role, drivers involved in the commercial heavy transport sector, especially male drivers, experience a much higher incidence of OSA than the rest of the population. Screening studies completed in this sector (in NZ) over the last three years indicate that approximately 24% of male commercial drivers suffer from OSA, much higher than the reported national statistics of 9% for all adult males.
Untreated OSA is known to contribute to fatigue-related severe accidents and severe health consequences with drivers having 2 to 15 times more frequent motor vehicle accidents compared to unaffected drivers. The transportation industry is identified as having 2-3 times higher than normal rate of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, as well an increased incidence of three leading adult health care concerns – cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension.
Recent Australian research suggests that up to 41% of long-distance heavy vehicle drivers are likely to have sleep apnea.
The move to digital healthcare delivery meant a more straightforward process for Fit for Duty and their customers. The move to the on-demand online consultation model means that patients don’t have to try fit a consultation around changing availabilities. Fit for Duty can scale their operations without having to organise local nursing resources in each region. The move from an offline model to online was straightforward with the introduction of new learning and development modules and will lead to reduced administration overheads reduced travel time for medical staff.
The service works like this, when the patient reaches the stage of treatment that would previously have required a visit from a nurse, they instead log into Fit for Duty’s Doctor2Go portal using their one-time code. Doctor2Go’s medical team has been trained to provide this stage of the sleep apnea consultation, and they update the patient notes in Fit for Duty’s cloud-based patient management system for the Sleep Physiologist to review.
Because both organisations operate as a digital business and use remote working strategies, there is a natural synergy between the companies.
About Fit For Duty
Fit for Duty is the only Occupational Health Company dedicated to the education, diagnosis and treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in New Zealand making their services more accessible than traditional public health pathways.