School of Nursing's Sawyer receives funding for sleep research

August 06, 2013

Amy Sawyer, assistant professor of nursing, has received funding from the Fran and Holly Soistman Faculty Development Endowment in the College of Health and Human Development.

Each year, the Soistman Faculty Development Endowment provides funding for faculty who are engaged in significant, innovative research related to the design, development, delivery, administration or evaluation of health care services. Sawyer, who conducts research related to treatment of sleep disorders, plans to use the funds to develop a prototype for an information system designed to accrue and analyze real-time sleep data from patients in various treatment settings.

“There are no comprehensive information systems available for sleep health care,” said Sawyer. “Clinical and research sleep centers use multiple stand-alone commercial systems to manage large amounts of data without the capability to migrate these data for analysis in a comprehensive platform. This gap significantly contributes to fragmentation of care, inefficient processes, and underutilization of data to support health care decisions and patient self-management.”

In collaboration with Vittaldas Prabhu, professor of industrial engineering at Penn State, Sawyer intends to develop a laboratory prototype for a Sleep Health Hub. The prototype will explore available technologies and integrate them into a vendor-neutral test bed, to be introduced in clinical research and later adapted for use in clinical care.

“An abundance of technologies exists that can enable significant advances in remote (at-home) sleep health monitoring,” Sawyer noted. “But the absence of an integrated platform for data acquisition, management and real-time analytics prevents the efficient use of these technologies on a systemwide level.”

Data generated by Sawyer’s work will support a larger grant application in response to the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health “Smart and Connected Health” solicitation, which seeks to transform health care from a hospital-centered, disease-focused model to a person-centered, prevention-focused model.

“My overall long-term objective is to reduce the burden of negative health outcomes associated with sleep deprivation and sleep disorders in the adult population,” Sawyer summarized.

  • Amy M. Sawyer

    Amy M. Sawyer is an assistant professor of nursing.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated January 09, 2015