5 digital health tools that could improve COPD management

LifeMap Solutions launched the COPD Navigator app for iOS devices developed with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and pulmonologists from the Mount Sinai – National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute.

This post has been updated from an earlier version to reflect comments from LifeMap Solutions CEO Corey Bridges.

COPD affects 24 million people and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Punitive fines to reduce readmission rates for Medicare and Medicaid patients are providing added incentive for hospitals to develop and adopt digital health technologies that can help them spot warning signs earlier to reduce costly trips to the ER.

Here are five digital health companies and initiatives to make remote monitoring reliable, help patients manage their condition and convey warning signs when patients show signs of deterioration.

LifeMap Solutions has launched its COPD Navigator app for iOS devices. It was developed through a partnership with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and pulmonologists from the Mount Sinai – National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute. It is designed to send users alerts on environmental conditions that can impact their breathing such as local weather conditions and air quality.

The app also provides medication reminders and tools to track users’ symptoms to identify sudden declines in their condition and helps patients share this information with their healthcare teams. It supports Apple’s HealthKit technology and accepts inhaler usage data from any HealthKit-compliant, Bluetooth-enabled,  connected inhaler. The app’s first publicly disclosed customer beyond Mount Sinai is chronic care company, SuperCare Health.

Update: Asked about modifications it made to the app based on feedback from the pilot, LifeMap Solutions CEO Corey Bridges said in an emailed response:

“Based on feedback from the pilot program specifically, we chose to add monitoring of oxygen saturation and heart rate due in part to interest in evaluating how these metrics can help physicians make decisions about when it’s necessary to change treatment. We standardized on simple five-point scales for cough and mucus severity and adopted the breathlessness scale that is most widely used in medical research so that the data we gather will be readily comparable to data gathered in published peer reviewed studies. We also created the symptom severity histograms in our Clinician Dashboard, a feature in the enterprise version of COPD Navigator that allows the care team to view patient data in real-time, based on strong interest in the power of these visualizations for identifying patients at higher risk of an exacerbation.”

Sentrian developed a biosensor supported by cloud technology and machine to detect deteriorating health of patients earlier. Its goal is to reduce preventable hospitalization in patients with complex chronic disease. In May, Scripps Translational Research Institute embarked on a 12-month research study of Sentrian’s technology to evaluate it for 1,000 COPD patients. They are health plan subscribers to CareMore Health System, an Anthem subsidiary.

Cohero developed a connected spirometer to assess lung function and medication adherence in asthma and COPD patients. It was designed to be a clinical grade medical device to function as a barometer for lung function. It also produced a patient-facing app that helps users track their data. By the end of the year, it expects to have four to five health systems as customers, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which is using its device as part of a push to add COPD remote monitoring capabilities to its mediation adherence center.

HGE Health Care Solutions, a Temple University Hospital spinoff, developed a COPD app that serves as a symptom reporting tool. Dr Gerard Criner, the founding chairman of the Department of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery, heads up the company which developed the app. The COPD Copilot app is based on more than 10 years of clinical research. It is currently used by patients at the hospital to boost compliance. The new Center for Digital Health that Criner helped launch this year. The Center will validate clinical outcomes associated with the app. It will also add capabilities to address the co-morbidities associated with COPD patients.

AstraZeneca and digital health company Adherium teamed up earlier this year. The collaboration seeks to improve outcomes for patients with COPD and asthma with connected inhalers that can log date and times when patients use them and transmit reminders to patient’s cell phones when they miss those doses. It’s a variation of other pharma and digital collaborations on COPD, most notably Propeller Health with GlaxoSmithKline and with Boehringer Ingelheim.