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The Future of Sleep Medicine
By Lindsey Nolen
Since entering the medical device market in 2006, with the development of the Nox T3, Nox Medical has dedicated research and development toward improving patient sleep diagnostic measures and testing. In continuing to work toward improving patient outcomes, the company has established a new location in the United States upon merging with FusionHealth, paving the way toward even more comprehensive technological tools. Now, the company has officially launched its innovative polysomnography system, the Nox A1, in the US and Canada.
Founded by engineers, investors and medical professionals with extensive experience in providing industry-standard solutions for sleep monitoring and diagnostics, Nox Medical has brought forth a new generation of products to support the growth of sleep medicine. Initially, the company’s focus was solely on building a revolutionary home sleep testing device.
According to Pétur Már Halldórsson, CEO at Nox Medical, based in Reykjavic, Iceland, this is because home sleep units had become very popular across international markets during the mid-2000’s, even though lab-based sleep studies still dominated the U.S. market.
Developing Flagship Products
“Our initial focus led us to launching the Nox T3 Sleep Monitor in 2009, and that became a widespread home sleep testing unit with over 20,000 units distributed across the globe,” Halldórsson said. “Millions of people have received help from Nox T3 technology. We estimate around 3 million individuals in the U.S. alone have been diagnosed using this technology.”
Constantly working to develop a more advanced test, Nox Medical built upon the Nox T3 to develop the Nox A1 PSG System. This product is a fully portable polysomnography system that simplifies the task of performing a sleep study and simultaneously delivers more secure and precise measurements. Halldórsson explained that the solution was a way to make sleep testing easier to use, more scalable and more cost-effective while increasing quality — without sacrificing data.
Current Company Initiatives
As of early 2020, Nox Medical was able to start distribution of the Nox A1 system throughout the United States. Halldórsson shared that the timing of this approval was critical given the current scope and spread of the COVID-19 virus, and the subsequent need for at-home, sleep testing.
As opposed to traditional lab testing that uses multiple sensors that can later be re-used on numerous patients, Nox Medical is focusing on delivering single-use sensors that prioritize hygiene. To get this message across to patients and clinicians, the company shared a “disposable sensors used to clean Nox devices” update on its website on March 26.
“COVID-19 is keeping us busy and making it clear that the [medical device] landscape is changing, demonstrating that telemedicine is a fact, not fiction,” Halldórsson said. “The implementation and introduction of the Nox A1 System is meeting the testing need that we will see in more and more labs and patient homes. Focusing on these aspects of sanitation and cleaning is extremely important these days.
Nox Medical is confident in its ability to provide customers with the most advanced and easy to use technology available in the field of sleep diagnosis, especially now. Whereas many sleep labs equip patients with wires, Nox Medical’s solutions eliminate the excessive use of wires, enhancing comfort, limiting sleep disruption and improving the overall sleep testing experience.
“Seamless home testing has been difficult, if not impossible, until now,” Halldórsson said. “The fact that
millions of people have been diagnosed using our devices shows that Nox Medical is now operating
globally while staying close to our customers and providing services in the field.”
Given COVID-19 and the emphasis on staying home, Halldórsson believes that the market for testing products like the A1 may begin to grow faster than it has previously. As more people adopt at-home testing, he says Nox Medical’s research and development into further advanced solutions remains at the forefront of the company’s approach.
“We are looking after all of those thousands of customers who are under critical circumstances to provide diagnostics, whether in hospitals or home sleep settings. We are working with them to perform
sleep testing under such circumstances,” Halldórsson said. “We want to provide our customers with the most advanced and easy to use technology that is available in the field of sleep diagnosis.”
Preparing for the future
After the development and distribution of sleep diagnostic solutions, the company’s mission became more broad — focusing on advancing sleep medicine across the general public. By merging with FusionHealth in 2019, and establishing the Nox Health team in Atlanta, Ga., the mission further evolved to reflect the company’s claim that it “wants people to wake up to a brighter world.”
“This is what we have worked toward,” Halldórsson said. “We want to make sleep more accessible to more people. We know that at least 30% of the general population has some type of sleep disorder, so we needed to find a proper test for the diagnosis and treatment of these problems.”
According to Halldórsson, staying on top of the most advanced technologies means bringing the company’s solutions into the cloud space with a more service-driven approach. This growing need for
solutions that offer a combination of entities is what led Nox Medical to deciding to merge with Fusion Health. Together, the companies possess a wider range of medical expertise and can implement the sleep testing infrastructure presently needed within the U.S.
“During the next ten years, I do think we will see a very strong need to increase automation. We will see the sleep world using artificial intelligence and cloud-based applications to make sleep studies even more efficient,” Halldórsson said. “Sleep is a complex subject, and we need to make sure we’re studying what’s going on in the brain, respirations system and with oxygen levels. We have to think about how we can be more complete but less complex.”
Halldórsson concluded that data collection must not be reduced, but rather sleep professionals must acquire a lot of data to analyze something as complex as sleep. He notes that moving forward the best
sleep testing solutions must be scalable enough to send to a patient’s home while allowing a physician to easily review the test results with the help of AI.
“I do see Nox Medical in a leading position to provide this technology,” Halldórsson said. “When people have easier access to proper studies, we will, in fact, help people ‘wake up to a brighter world.”
Lindsey Nolen is a journalist based in Jacksonville, Florida.