How To View Your Sleep Apnea Data From Your Philips Respironics CPAP Machine For Free Using SleepyHead Software
Recently I received a new Sleep Apnea machine from Philips Respironics. It was a warranty replacement from a machine that I already owned, but was interested to find that the old machine had an SD data card loaded in the back. With my curious nature, I embarked on a quest to figure out exactly what was on this card and was determined to figure out if I should also give back my "data" when I swapped out my machine.
While I was elated to figure out that my machine had recorded my sleep patterns for the past year or so, I wasn't quite comfortable with giving up that much personal data about my personal habits back to the machine provider. I started off by simply jamming the card into the side of my Mac to see what files were located on the mystery card. Yes there were files and a complete directory structures, but no useable data. I figured that would be way to easy.
So I was researching the issue online and it turns out the Phillips has a complete software package that allows you to read the data recorded but it is quite costly. This program called "Encore" is available in two forms. The first is Windows based only, and can cost upwards of $200! I know my insurance company certainly wouldn't pay for that. The second option is a web viewing program with the same name where you actually upload those mystery data files directly to Philips and they decode them and you view your results online. Scratch that.... If I wanted to just hand my data over to the manufacturer, I would have just given them my card int he first place..
While I did more digging, it turns out that there is a completely free alternative to the Philips Respironics Encore software called SleepyHead. This program is completely FREE and works across Windows, MacOS, and even Linux for the truly nerdy folks out there. Available from the link below, this software will actually load your data and show you all sorts of useful information about your sleeping habits!
Sleepy Head Link
- Tips On Living With Sleep Apnea & A CPAP Machine
Do you or someone you love have sleep apnea, or suspect that you do? Common symptoms are snoring, fatigue, and restlessness during sleep. With just a few tips you can take the mystery and fear out of this sleep disorder.
- SourceForge.net: sleepyhead
Link to the main Sleepyhead site for a free Windows,Linux, or Mac OS download.
In addition the the cutest icon I think I have ever seen (A Sheep With A CPAP mask on), the software was very straight forward to use and actually came with a wizard which eased the installation process. I was asked to create a quick profile, which would later come in handy as I can also load data cards for other people. Now I'm not practicing medicaid in my basement or anything, but my sister has a similar machine and it's easy to switch profiles so our data doesn't get confused. I was highly impressed, as the software is geared towards the consumer, but also appears to be "Medical Grade". By this I mean, if you happen to be a sleep therapist, or a doctor's office, you too can use the software. It has options to place notes on reports, have your office name, patient account number and all that stuff. FOr simple consumer use you simply don't fill in any of that data and your off to the races!
The program itself is rather intuitive with helpful icons that just made it really simple to understand. Now I'll admit that I hardly ever read manuals, but there was simply no need to read anything for the software itself. There is a "Load Data" icon which walked me through the process step by step.
Once data was loaded, I was treated to statistical data conceding my sleep habits. For example, how many hours and day of use, as well as data conceding the machine I was actually using. The really powerful and useful thing though was the daily reports. This is where the rubber meets the road and you get to see just exactly what happened that last time you went to sleep. You get to see everything from how many times you were snoring, to how many apnea incidents you had during the night. Some of the Abbreviates are standard in the respiratory therapy world, but I had to idea what some of them were. Don't worry, there is an awesome help system that can explain them, so you don't need a medical degree to decipher them.
So why go through all this trouble you might ask? It doesn't really matter anyway since I'm not a Doctor right? WRONG! Next time I have an appointment with my Doctor, I'll be bringing in sample reports to see if my pressure setting needs to be adjusted. These types of reports are what they actually use to determine the initial pressure setting during your sleep study. By using this software and with a little help from your doctor, you can really "dial in" in your appropriate pressure setting.
So to conclude the events, I was able to load my card data, then erase all the personal data on the card before actually returning my machine back to the manufacturer. I;m not paranoid or anything, but found that much data to be extremely personal, so now I'm glad it isn't in the wrong hands.
Be sure to checkout the screenshots of the program in action!