Asthma is one of the world’s most common chronic diseases, affecting some 300 million people and almost 5 percent of the world’s population. It’s also the 5th most costly condition in the US – an estimated at $56 billion annually. But as we’ve reported here previously, a significant number of people with asthma either don’t use their asthma medications or use them incorrectly.
Improving asthma control is known to reduce the cost of treating asthma by eliminating unnecessary hospitalizations, ED visits, and office visits. The additional cost of an uncontrolled asthma patient compared to a controlled asthma patient is estimated at $3,000-$4,000 per patient annually.
So, we were interested to learn last week that the FDA approved a sensorized asthma inhaler that can track usage and transmit the data to a smartphone and the web. The manufacturer – Asthmapolis will begin to market the asthma sensor and both English and Spanish language versions of the companion software in the US very soon.
“Our mission is to make it easier for patients and their physicians to do a better job of managing asthma with less effort than traditionally required.” said David Van Sickle, co-founder and CEO of Asthmapolis.
The small and lightweight device attaches to the end of most inhalers, and the app tracks the time and location of each medication discharge and reminds patients to use it if they forget.
In clinical studies of the Asthmapolis system, uncontrolled asthma declined by 50%, and more than 70% of patients improved their level of control. In addition it can identify trends in a patients asthma triggers and symptoms over time and provide patients with personalized education on how to improve their asthma.
Not only will the device talk directly to the patients, physicians and other health care providers will be able to identify, in near-real-time, patients with uncontrolled disease and attend to them before they suffer a severe exacerbation.
“Despite all we know about asthma and how to treat it, the majority of patients still do not have the disease under control, and traditional approaches to self-management have been time-consuming and complicated,” said Inger Couture, chief regulatory officer of Asthmapolis. “The Asthmapolis technology makes it much easier to track symptoms and use of metered dose inhalers, allowing patients, their families and their doctors to gain a valuable new perspective on the disease.”
And that can only be a good thing.