Meet Brian Sauer of GEM HEALTH

Hey, I’m Brian, the founder and CEO of GEM HEALTH. I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea in 2021. It was after navigating a frustrating and fragmented experience on my own that I decided to start GEM and create an experience that is easy, efficient and supportive. In this blog post, we'll dive in to the importance of identifying sleep apnea in patients and tools and resources available to Direct Primary Care physicians.

Sleep is a fundamental pillar of health, yet many patients struggle with sleep-related issues, often unaware of the underlying causes. Among these, sleep apnea stands out as a prevalent but often undiagnosed condition, affecting roughly 1 in 8 Americans. As clinicians, it is essential to recognize the significance of addressing sleep apnea to help patients achieve better sleep and overall well-being.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. These interruptions can occur many times per hour, leading to fragmented sleep and oxygen deprivation. There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA, the more common form, occurs when the throat muscles relax, blocking the airway.

The Impact of Sleep Apnea on Health

Sleep apnea is not merely a disruptive condition; it can have serious health consequences if left untreated. Untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of developing hypertension, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems. Moreover, it can contribute to daytime drowsiness, poor concentration, and impaired cognitive function, affecting work performance and overall quality of life.

The Importance of Early Identification and Treatment

Identifying sleep apnea early is crucial for effective management and improved patient outcomes. However, addressing sleep apnea can be challenging as wait times for sleep clinics are months out and a lengthy process many aren’t willing to navigate alone.

Resources for Identifying Sleep Apnea

Screening Tools: Use validated screening tools, such as the STOP-BANG questionnaire, to assess a patient's risk for sleep apnea based on factors like snoring, tiredness, high blood pressure, BMI, age, and gender. On, patients can take the STOP-BANG questionnaire for free to assess their risk.

Collaboration with Sleep Specialists: When in doubt, refer patients to sleep specialists, like GEM SLEEP, for evaluation, especially if they exhibit high-risk factors or symptoms suggestive of sleep apnea.

Promoting Awareness: Educate patients about the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, emphasizing the importance of seeking evaluation if they experience persistent sleep disturbances or other common sleep apnea symptoms.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

The primary treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which uses a machine to deliver a constant flow of air through a mask worn over the nose and/or mouth during sleep, keeping the airway open. Other treatment options include oral appliances, lifestyle modifications (such as weight loss), and in severe cases, surgery.

Direct Primary Care clinicians can play a vital role in addressing sleep apnea for patients. By recognizing the signs and symptoms, utilizing resources, and collaborating with sleep specialists like GEM, clinicians can help improve patient sleep, overall health, and quality of life. Early intervention is key, and by prioritizing sleep health, clinicians can make a significant impact on the well-being of patients. 




GEM SLEEP is a virtual sleep clinic that services individuals living with obstructive sleep apnea from diagnosis through ongoing treatment and support. GEM SLEEP offers:

  • Diagnosis – Patients get diagnosed quickly and comfortably from home
  • Treatment – Patients are offered treatment options they can access in a timely fashion (typically 2-3 weeks)
  • Support – From sleep coaches to written and video format resources, you’re never alone when making this lifestyle change.

GEM solves for an otherwise lengthy and fragmented experience and has created a super simple and convenient experience by offering: 

  • A disposable home sleep test
  • Telehealth appointments
  • Treatment options (GEM is a DME)
  • High-tech, high-touch wrap-around patient support
Have questions or want to learn more about how GEM SLEEP can assist your practice? Contact our Head of Sales at