Can smart Inhalers improve the quality of life of patients who have asthma?
Around 339 million people are living with asthma globally. Children are affected more than adults, and the deaths due to asthma are increasing. London alone has seen a 17% rise in asthma-related deaths from the year 2017 to 2018.
Asthma management is not only restricted to the management of acute episodes. A long term treatment plan is required for asthma to improve the quality of life of the affected individuals and prevent death.
Joseph Clift, senior policy officer at charity Asthma UK, said:
“Our current model for asthma care is no longer fit for purpose. One of the core parts of asthma care is an annual asthma review with GPs, but lots of people don’t value it, and most end up not going.”
Smart inhalers come in handy when it comes to long term management. Smart inhalers can be connected across devices using Bluetooth technology, which then helps to keep the patient on track. Smart inhalers remind the patients when to take their medications to improve compliance and adherence, subsequently decreasing the chances of acute episodes.
The sensors are designed to detect if the user is in an area of high pollution or high pollen and then send reminders. These smart inhalers automatically track the patient’s inhaler use and keep a record of it.
“Smart inhalers certainly have promise in helping patients better adhere to their medication and keep on top of their asthma. It’s early days, but it’s important that they are designed with health systems and patients in mind so that they can give maximum benefit.”
Smart inhalers can also indicate when the patient is overusing their preventive medicine indicating poorly controlled asthma.
Every detail is recorded by the smart inhaler and stored in the app on the device connected via Bluetooth. The time, date, and the dosage is recorded, and this information is then used to schedule the next dose.
There is still more research required in this era before this new technology can be rolled out for commercial use. Research has shown that around 9 out of 10 asthmatic patients would be interested in using the smart inhalers if available through the NHS.