TAMC’s Sleep Disorders Center earns accreditation

| September 25, 2012 | 0 Comments
Spc. Mary Stewart, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Bde., 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participates in a daytime sleep study at the Sleep Disorders Center, TAMC, Sept. 30.

Spc. Mary Stewart, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Bde., 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participates in a daytime sleep study at the Sleep Disorders Center, TAMC, Sept. 30.

Story and photo by Stephanie Bryant
Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs

HONOLULU — Tripler Army Medical Center’s Sleep Disorders Center recently earned accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

After more than a year of preparation, the center was granted the accreditation, which covers areas such as clinical operations, in-lab sleep studies and out-of-center sleep testing for a period of five years.

TAMC’s Sleep Disorder Center is Army Medicine’s third military treatment facility, or MTF, to house an accredited Sleep Disorder Center. Adding to that achievement, the center is the first non-fellowship-affiliated Army MTF to meet national standards.

“When there is a fellowship at a hospital, it means that there is a lot of manpower and training already in place, so when a new clinic comes up (that) doesn’t have that guidance … and achieves that accreditation, it is a great accomplishment,” explained Richard Suvanarat, supervisor, Sleep Lab, Sleep Disorders Center, TAMC. “The whole point of being accredited is to live up to the highest standards.”

The four-bed center has evolved into a Sleep Disorder Center that provides a full range of sleep medicine services.

“(The military) population is unique, and it has unusual conditions, like narcolepsy, that require day studies, so we do many day (and night) studies, (but most importantly,) we follow up with all patients,” said Dr. Christine Fukui, sleep medicine physician.

Fukui worked closely with Suvanarat and Dr. (Lt. Col.) Sean Dooley, former physician of TAMC’s Sleep Disorder Center, to ensure the lab and center met standards set forth by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

“Our command really supported us achieving this goal of accreditation since the Sleep Lab was first opened in October 2012,” Dooley said. “The accreditation validates the rigor of our program. It reinforces how we are approaching sleep medicine.”

Recently, the Sleep Disorders Center welcomed Dr. (Lt. Col.) Wanhee Choi, medical director for the center. Under Choi’s direction, the center will continue a new initiative to incorporate portable home sleep monitoring.

This initiative will help capture an additional 10-20 percent of the patient population that TAMC still refers to outside centers.

Also, this initiative will ultimately allow the center to keep more than 50 percent of the center’s patients in-house, instead of referring them to another sleep lab or center.

“Not having to refer patients off-post will save them a lot of time and taxpayer dollars,” Dooley said. “The ultimate goal is to increase services and improve patient care.”

The Sleep Disorder Center is currently increasing staff numbers and expanding its capabilities. It is transitioning from a four-night-a-week operation to a seven-night-a-week operation, as well as adding more sleep medicine services.

The Sleep Disorders Center works on a referral system. Patients must first visit with their primary care manager in order to have the referral placed.

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Category: Army Community Covenant, Health, News

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