AASM Announces a New 3:1 Tech to Patient Ratio

If you have not seen the latest from the that directly impacts working sleep techs, I have included the letter below. What are your thoughts about the deciding the value of your RPSGT Credential, allowing Auto Scoring for Home Sleep Studies, and now supporting a routine 3:1 ratio of patients to tech?

Please post your opinion (agree or disagree). If you have no opinion then you should say nothing when the industry changes.

“Dear Accredited Sleep Disorders Center,

Over the past year, selected sleep disorders centers accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine participated in an assessment of current laboratory procedures to identify areas for improved patient care and safety as well as efficiency. The report resulting from this year-long assessment has assisted the Board of Directors in making strategic decisions related to policy for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.

After reviewing the final report, the Board of Directors amended Standard B-7 of the Standards for Accreditation of Sleep Disorders Centers. To ensure the highest quality of care and patient safety the standard continues to recommend a patient-to-technologist ratio of 2:1 for attended polysomnography, and now allows for a maximum ratio of 3:1. The revised standard states:

B-7 – Sleep Technicians and TechnologistsAASM accredited sleep facilities must maintain appropriately trained, supervised, and, where required by state law, licensed sleep technologists. Technologist staffing must be adequate to address the workload of the sleep facility and assure the safety of patients. This includes a recommended patient to technologist ratio of 2:1 and a maximum patient to technologist ratio of 3:1 under usual circumstances for attended polysomnography.

A complete version of the current Standards for Accreditation of Sleep Disorders Centers may be downloaded at www.aasmnet.org/accreditation.aspx. “

Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

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4 thoughts on “AASM Announces a New 3:1 Tech to Patient Ratio”

  1. Disappointed. Think there are a few board members who have financial interests in a sleep lab who now will profit off the backs of their registered techs forsaking good patient supervision and care. Tell me AASM, I see you didn’t put any restrictions on being required to score while acquiring these three patients. If you have your nose buried in a study trying to score… One of your three could be flat lining. Who is responsible then? Me or you who bows to the profit mongers?

  2. I know I’m late responding to this, but I think this is a horrible idea. I am an RPSGT (14 years now) and my husband is an RRT and RPSGT. They are trying to do this where my husband works, which is a large 14 bed lab. They work four 10 hour shifts. Basically, when someone goes on break, then the other techs are basically covering the extra patients, so they are then trying to watch 4 patients for hours as people go on break. They are not required to score or even stage the studies (after determining it will not be a split study). They all have to set up 3 patients as well. This makes sleep techs worth less in my opinion; all they are doing is monitoring patients! That doesn’t take much skill AT ALL. A nurse aid could do that. Maybe if someone needed CPAP they’d just have an RRT come in and do it…..or not since we now have auto paps. I took the boards back in 2001 when you had to know so much more stuff then you do now. MY pay has actually dropped $4 an hour since I am in a private lab now vs a hospital as I was in before. And my husband, who as I said, is in a big lab in a big city, only makes $21 per hour, even though he is both an RRT AND RPSGT. Oh, and they overbook patients so if they all come in they will all have 3 patients or have to send someone home. That is a horrible thing to do to a patient who might have to get sent home.

    Anyways….the second point in the fact of being able to handle 3 patients, is it’s not safe AT ALL. If something bad happens and a patient calls out (or has a medical emergency) and no one is in there….that would not go over very well. This whole thing is very frustrating.

  3. This is crazy.
    The quality of a study drops drastically in my experience. The patients are often times neglected while I have to attend to others. A restroom break becomes impossible and forget about lunch. We were already pushing a full load with 2 patients. 3 is crazy, especially when all three are titrations.
    Cleanup is a joke. You are basically rushing and doing the minimum scrub job on leads while trying to fold sheets before your 10 hour shift is up.
    Also, some people don’t develop events until later in the study. Titrations are not going to be accurate if you aren’t allowed to let the study push a little further.
    I think someone just wants a little extra cash $$$.

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