Smart inhalers – Digital health tech review

Inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators are the cornerstone treatments for asthma. The first medication helps control inflammation while the second provides immediate relief when symptoms flair.

Ihalers are efficient when they’re used correctly, but up to 94 percent of people who use them don’t do so in the proper manner.

“Standard of care works for approximately 90 percent of all patients when taken correctly and as prescribed,” said Tonya A. Winders, president and chief executive officer of the Allergy & Asthma Network.

“On the other hand, studies show about 50 percent of patients with asthma are not well controlled, which leads us to believe more can be done to increase adherence.”

Enter Bluetooth-enabled smart inhalers is an example of the newbies of health tech.

These devices are designed to detect inhaler use, remind patients to use their medication, encourage proper use of the device, and gather data about a patient’s inhaler use that can help guide care.

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Each time the inhaler is used, it records the date, time, place, and whether the dose was correctly administered.

“This will provide valuable insight to determine how adherent patients are to their controller medications, as well as help us understand the patterns of when a patient experiences a flare,” Winders said.

Add-on devices, which clip to existing inhalers and send data to a smartphone app, are available now.

In a clinical trial for Propeller’s add-on smart inhaler device, researchers found that participants used less reliever medication, had more reliever-free days, and improved overall asthma control over the 12 months of the study.

The first fully integrated smart inhalers should be available to consumers by the middle of the year, Winders said.

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