ANN ARBOR, Mich. —Many children experience sleep and breathing problems that are common and often unrecognized, but a new app based on University of Michigan Health System research might make it easier for parents to identify those problems in their children.
Called Sleep ChampTM, the app features a series of yes-or-no questions about a child’s behavior and exhibited characteristics that can help parents figure out if their child is getting quality sleep.
The app is based on the Sleep Related Breathing Disorders Scale, a questionnaire developed by Ronald D. Chervin, M.D., M.S., the Michael S. Aldrich Collegiate Professor of Sleep Medicine and the director of the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center. The SRBD Scale is designed to assess sleep quality, specifically identifying symptoms of sleep-related breathing disorders.
U-M’s Technology Transfer Office licensed the SRBD Scale for use in the app, which is being developed by health information technology company, Zansors, LLC. The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store now.
“Appropriate identification and treatment of childhood sleep disorders can make a huge difference, for years to come, in the lives of children and their families,” Chervin says. “I very much hope that, at minimum, the Sleep ChampTM app will create better awareness about sleep and breathing problems that children can have, and about the potential consequences.”
App users will be asked about their child’s behaviors, including questions about snoring, breathing and other related characteristics, such as poor attention, hyperactive behavior, impulsiveness and sleepiness that can be signs of poor sleep quality.
“Many parents have unanswered questions or concerns about their children’s sleep, and for good reason,” Chervin says. “Parents realize, even sometimes when doctors don’t, that how a child sleeps could have a lot to do with how they’re going to behave the next day. And that can have a lot of influence on the quality of the day for the whole family.”
Once parents have answered these questions, they will be given a score, which the app will help them understand. Depending on the score, parents might be advised to take their children to a pediatrician or sleep medicine specialist for more information about sleep disorders.
While Sleep ChampTM is not designed to diagnose any medical condition, Chervin says he hopes the app can spur conversation and action about a child’s sleep quality that can result in beneficial treatment.
“If you’re a parent and you fill this questionnaire out and you think your child has some of these symptoms, it might raise the possibility that your child would really benefit from going to a pediatrician and discussing with them to see whether a sleep disorder might be diagnosed,” he says.
While the roots of the app’s technology are based on U-M research, Zansors also has ties to the university, with 10 team members having a U-M connection. They include Mark Fendrick, M.D., a professor in the department of Internal Medicine and Health Management and Policy and co-director of the U-M Center for Value-Based Insurance Design, who serves as the chairman of Zansors’ Medical Advisory Board, as well as two consultants who completed their emergency medicine residencies at U-M.
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For more information about the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center, visit http://www.med.umich.edu/neuro/sleeplab/
About Zansors, LLC: Zansors develops and delivers innovative technologies and applications that improve healthcare. Besides making mobile health apps, Zansors is a leader in micro/nano sensors, data systems, and analytics with a proprietary biotechnology platform that includes microfluidics (also known as lab-on-a-chip). The company is based in McLean, Virginia and led by a team of physicians, research scientists, and technologists experienced in enterprise business solutions.