Sleep Disorders Center and Clinic

Referrals and Sleep Studies

For Patients

How to Order a Sleep Study

To schedule a sleep study, you will need a referral from a physician and in some cases an authorization from your health insurance company. Sometimes, sleep lab staff can get approval from your insurance company on your behalf. 

Typically, our program and your insurance company will both require your medical history, including:

  • Your specific symptoms related to sleep
  • Information regarding why you need a sleep study 
  • Any other health issues you may be experiencing

The Lifespan Sleep Disorders Center performs both overnight and daytime sleep studies to accommodate shift workers.  

In addition, we perform:

  • Multiple Sleep Latency Test: Used to diagnose daytime sleepiness and narcolepsy 
  • Multiple Wakefulness Test: Evaluates how well can you stay awake during the day 
  • Portable home studies: A more convenient option that allow patients to take the test home

For Providers

Referring Your Patient to a Sleep Specialist

If you wish to refer your patient to a sleep expert first to see if a sleep study is necessary, please work directly with the Lifespan Ambulatory Pulmonary and Sleep Clinic or the Brown Medicine Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine to be seen by a physician or nurse practitioner who specializes in sleep medicine.

In addition, you may wish to have your patient evaluated by a sleep medical professional after their initial sleep study. 

If you are not asking for the patient to be seen or followed up with by a sleep medicine physician, the ordering physician typically treats the patient. The interpretation of study results will be sent to you for review.

For example, if your patient is diagnosed with sleep apnea and comes back to the lab for treatment with CPAP, the ordering physician will need to initiate treatment to set up the patient with CPAP or a dental appliance at home, depending on their needs.

When you or your patient selects a home care company, the company typically requires medical notes, the results of the titration, and a prescription for equipment. The results of the titration test are needed to indicate the CPAP/BIPAP settings when CPAP is ordered. If a dental appliance is warranted, a dentist knowledgeable in sleep medicine is usually referred by the ordering physician.

How to Order a Sleep Study

In-Lab Sleep Study vs. Home Study

In-lab sleep studies monitor brain waves, EKG, leg movements, apnea, and muscle tone to diagnose multiple sleep disorders, while the portable home study only monitors breathing and snoring to diagnose suspected sleep apnea. 

Home studies are often ordered because they seem less intensive, but they can be inappropriate or inconclusive. Home sleep studies should not be done if: 

  1. The patient is suspected of having narcolepsy, hypersomnia not felt to be from sleep apnea, daytime fatigue, parasomnias, RLS and periodic limb movements, dream enactment, insomnia, or a circadian rhythm disorder
  2. The patient is not technologically adept enough to connect or turn on the equipment 
  3. The patient lives alone, as it may be difficult for an individual to hook up the equipment by oneself

Insurance will often deny an in-lab study if there is insufficient documentation of need and recommend a home study instead. 

A peer-to-peer request may be necessary to obtain the overnight sleep study. The sleep disorder center would apply for the authorization only once we receive the referral forms and medical information needed for submission for all doctors, both internal and external. The pulmonary/sleep providers at both Brown Medicine and Lifespan apply for their own authorizations on behalf of their patients.


A referral is needed to place an order for a sleep study test. 

Medical Personnel Associated with Lifespan 

You may place a referral via LifeChart. Order the sleep study as an INTERNAL REFERRAL TO “AMBULATORY REFERRAL FOR SLEEP STUDIES” OR USE REF99 by doing the following:

  • Select to dept: RIH Sleep Disorder Center
  • Select To dept spec: Sleep Medicine Center
  • Reason: Specialty Services (default)
  • Select routine or urgent
  • Indicate a HOME STUDY in “comments” if you wish a home study
  • Answer the series of questions that follows that have hard stops
  • Indicate any patient accommodations necessary—in some cases, the patient may need to bring a caregiver if assistance is needed

All Other Providers

If you are a provider that is not associated with Lifespan, the following forms must be completed and faxed to 401-431-5429:

For adult patients: 
Please complete the Adult Polysomnography (Sleep Study) Request Form (PDF) and fax along with the last medical note describing patient symptoms, comorbidities, and the reason for the study. 

For pediatric patients:
Please complete the Pediatric Polysomnography (Sleep Study) Request Form (PDF) and fax along with the last medical note describing patient symptoms, comorbidities, and the reason for the study.