Assessment and management of chronic insomnia disorder: an algorithm for primary care physicians

Hugh Selsick, Anna Heidbreder, Jason Ellis, Luigi Ferini-Strambi, Diego Garcia-Borreguero, Chrysoula Leontiou, Michael S.B. Mak, David O’Regan, Liborio Parrino*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Primary care physicians often lack resources and training to correctly diagnose and manage chronic insomnia disorder. Tools supporting chronic insomnia diagnosis and management could fill this critical gap. A survey was conducted to understand insomnia disorder diagnosis and treatment practices among primary care physicians, and to evaluate a diagnosis and treatment algorithm on its use, to identify ways to optimize it specifically for these providers. Methods: A panel of experts developed an algorithm for diagnosing and treating chronic insomnia disorder, based on current guidelines and experience in clinical practice. An online survey was conducted with primary care physicians from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, who treat chronic insomnia patients, between January and February 2023. A sub-sample of participants provided open-ended feedback on the algorithm and gave suggestions for improvements. Results: Overall, 106 primary care physicians completed the survey. Half (52%, 55/106) reported they did not regularly screen for insomnia and half (51%, 54/106) felt they did not have enough time to address patients’ needs in relation to insomnia or trouble sleeping. The majority (87%,92/106) agreed the algorithm would help diagnose chronic insomnia patients and 82% (87/106) agreed the algorithm would help improve their clinical practice in relation to managing chronic insomnia. Suggestions for improvements were making the algorithm easier to read and use. Conclusion: The algorithm developed for, and tested by, primary care physicians to diagnose and treat chronic insomnia disorder may offer significant benefits to providers and their patients through ensuring standardization of insomnia diagnosis and management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number138
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Primary Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2024

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