There has been increasing interest in the use of sleep apnea apps to aid in the detection and treatment of OSA.
Several sleep apnea apps have shown favorable results in preliminary research, including an app (Firefly) demonstrating sensitivity of 88.3% and specificity of 80.0% for a clinical threshold apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 15 or more events per hour. However, extensive testing is needed before this tool or similar apps can be reliably used in clinical practice.
In a systematic review published in February 2022, Baptista and colleagues analyzed study results for 10 consumer-direct smartphone apps intended for the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of sleep-disordered breathing. These researchers concluded that the apps are generally not as accurate as traditional options and lack scientific validation.
Overall, these apps have proven to be “inaccurate and affected by a lot of variables, and none of them record true sleep,” according to Abhinav Singh, MD, MPH, FAASM, medical director of the Indiana Sleep Center in Greenwood, clinical assistant professor at Marian University College of Medicine in Indianapolis, and member of the medical review panel at SleepFoundation.org. “None of the information collected by these apps is submissible as valid medical information in the patient’s chart,” he said in an interview with Pulmonology Advisor.