Do Sleep Medicine doctors edit the tech’s scoring?
Overheard at an airline lounge as three gentlemen were talking while waiting for their flight after a Sleep Medicine annual meeting:
Physician 1: Do you guys edit or change anything the techs have done when you review sleep testing records?
Physician 2: Our software only allows me to review the record. It does not allow me to change anything.
Physician 3: Our software lets me make changes. But I never do. It takes too much time and is not worth it.
Physician 1: I don’t make any changes, either.
Really! As the Sleep Medicine physician, we are responsible for reviewing the record, making sure the sleep tech got it right, correcting anything when we disagree with the technician, and doing the interpretation. Obviously, not all sleep physicians do that. I even know of sleep physicians who sign a record scored by a tech or even automatically scored (even though no auto scoring software works well) without reviewing the record.
Why don’t some of us do what they should do?
Well, it takes time, and effort, to review a record, make changes and edits to the tech scoring, create new reports. We get paid the same whether we take the time and make the effort, or not. So why bother?
Because. Because we owe it to our patients to be as accurate as possible. Because patients are putting their trust in us and we should not let them down. Because accurate diagnosis allows proper treatment. Because it is important not to miss sleep apnea and subject the patient to unnecessary quality of life issues when these could have been improved. Because it is equally important not to diagnose sleep apnea in patients who do not have it, so we can avoid unnecessary treatment and the troubles and expense that go with it.
For the record, I do make edits and changes to the technicians’ scoring. Frequently.