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Episode #287 – Part 3 – Testing with Dr. Mark Murphy

the best practices show podcast Mar 31, 2021

You've talked to your patients about sleep apnea, screened them, and finally convinced them to see a physician. But what do you do once your patients get tested? In part three of this airway series, Kirk Behrendt brings back Dr. Mark Murphy to teach you the next steps once you have their test results. But how do you get patients interested in a sleep test to begin with? Listen to Episode 287 of The Best Practices Show to find out! And if you missed the previous episodes, be sure to go back and listen to Episodes 285 and 286!

Main Takeaways:

  • Don't be cheap — pay someone else to figure out the medical billing.
  • Get patients in the right perspective and interested in wanting a sleep test.
  • 85% of sleep tests today are done at home — a simpler and less invasive method.
  • For patients who have a lot going on, refer them to a sleep physician.
  • Diagnosis is neutral, not judgmental. You're just telling patients the truth.
  • Get comfortable with 75%. Accept that you can't help 100% of your patients.


  • “There’s an old John Wooden quote that I like. Failure is not fatal. Failure to change because of the mistakes you make and try different things differently may be fatal.” (01:39—01:51)
  • “I think where most dentists get [airway] wrong is not figuring out how to get paid for it.” (03:06—03:11)
  • “It’s so hard for [dentists] to accept 75% success as world-class. And yet, I think to myself, you'd be in the Hall of Fame in every sport if you shot 75%, if you scored 75% of the time, or you batted 750. You'd be in a Hall of Fame of the Hall of Fames.” (06:32—06:48)
  • “Some patients are unaware of things, and then they become aware. Once they become aware, that's still different than are they interested or not in what's going on . . . If I've engaged them enough, asked them enough questions, engaged them in conversation, been a good listener, shown them how much I care, then they probably come to trust me a little bit. So, unaware, aware, interested, they believe and trust in you. And then, they say the magic words, ‘Well, what do you think we ought to do?’ That's where I want a patient to be on that learning ladder.” (10:26—11:21)
  • “My triage in my mind is, am I confirming or denying that this patient has sleep apnea, or do I need a broader diagnosis — this patient has a lot going on. If they have a lot going on, I always send them to my local physician. I punt.” (16:56—17:10)
  • “Am I putting a little bit of fear in [patients]? Well, hell yes, I am. Because it is a serious disease. They're 23 times more likely to die of a heart attack if they have sleep apnea, and I want them to move on to get treatment.” (39:00—39:08)
  • “So, you see a patient who you think is at risk, and you don't encourage them to get a test, and they die. And you could've saved their life. Is that your partial responsibility? Boy, that's a discussion I don't want to have to have. Now, you've got somebody who has a positive test result, and you paint the picture as, ‘Well, if you kind of want to and you're interested, you might want to go get this device thing,’ and they die. And you could've saved their life. Do you feel the responsibility of that?” (42:24—42:52)


  • You can't learn something without doing it. (01:22—02:30)
  • Where dentists go wrong when it comes to sleep. (03:02—07:33)
  • How to get patients interested in a sleep test. (07:59—12:32)
  • The presumptive close: assume your patients say yes. (13:05—14:26)
  • Types of sleep tests. (14:55—19:23)
  • You can't treat 100% of your patients. (20:29—22:18)
  • Four types of tests and consumer wearables. (22:37—29:51)
  • Treatments and side effects. (30:50—34:18)
  • Should you review test results with patients? (34:48—41:24)
  • Telling patients the truth. (42:18—46:07)
  • Last thoughts on testing. (46:16—47:28)
  • What Dr. Murphy’s company does. (47:51—49:04)

Reach Out to Dr. Murphy:

Further Reading:

SnoreLab app: https://www.snorelab.com/

Dr. Mark Murphy Bio:

Mark is an American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine Diplomate and has practiced in the Rochester area for over 35 years. He is the Lead Faculty for Clinical Education at ProSomnus Sleep Technologies, Principal of Funktional Sleep, serves on the Guest Faculty at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry, and is a Regular Presenter at the Pankey Institute. He has served on the Boards of Directors of the Pankey Institute, National Association of Dental Laboratories, the IdentAlloy Council, the Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology, St. Vincent DePaul’s Dental Center, and The Dental Advisor. He lectures internationally on Leadership, Dental Sleep Medicine, TMD, Treatment Planning, and Occlusion.



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