Asthma Management Going High-Tech20 Apr 2012
A clinical trial is underway at Woodland Healthcare in California that is studying the use of a GPS tracking sensor attached to asthma inhaler to track where and when asthma sufferers use their inhalers.
Here’s how it works: When a patient presses the button on his asthma inhaler it not only sends him a blast of medication, it sends real-time GPS data that records the date, time, and location that the patient used his inhaler.
Why are epidemiologists interested in learning about when and where asthma sufferers use their inhalers? Studies indicated that less than 25 percent of asthma patients in the United States manage their asthma condition correctly.
Despite significant advances in asthma medication effectiveness, many asthma sufferers still experience severe episodes and periods of uncontrolled disease, which causes them to be at a higher risk for acute and intensified asthma attacks. That, coupled with inadequate tools health care providers have historically had to understand the severity and trends of a patient’s asthma symptoms make predicting and preventing serious asthma attacks quite limited.
Dr. Rajan Merchance, lead investigator for the clinical trial, noted that the inhaler with the GPS tracking sensor would enable patients and doctors track inhaler usage — whether asthma attacks were triggered by certain activities, in certain locations, and on certain days . By learning about asthma inhaler usage trends, patients can potentially avoid locations or activities that trigger asthma symptoms — or doctors can adjust medications.
The hope is that these GPS tracking equipped inhalers that capture and record where and when patients use their inhalers, combined with a digital interface, will help both doctors and patients better manage asthma conditions. Doctors and patients can track their asthma inhaler usage online or on smartphones to identify trends as to where and when asthma attacks occur.
The technology can be used for allergy sufferers who also use inhalers as well.
Woodland healthcare is accepting patients for their clinical trial until June 2012. Participants must be over the age of five, have asthma, and be a willing participant in the clinical trial for one year.
For more information about this exciting new GPS tracking use for asthma, watch the segment on Good Day Sacramento.