Digital therapeutics player develops app that reduces COPD symptoms in study

A clinical study has shown to successfully reduce the symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) using an artificial intelligence (AI) app developed by digital therapeutics company Kaia Health.

COPD is an umbrella term to describe chronic lung diseases that cause limitations in lung airflow.

Users who completed 20 therapy days with the Kaia COPD app had a clinically significant benefit in their Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) scores, a medical marker of perceived physical health, compared to their baseline values. After this short period, the digital intervention improved their scores in other areas, including emotion, mastery, and fatigue.

The digital treatment combines physiotherapy, psychosocial support and patient education, and can be done in the patient’s home.

The Kaia COPD app follows an approach that addresses physical and psychological factors of the disease. The content is based on clinically validated patient guidelines with the aim of allowing patients to better self-manage their COPD. The app includes video-based AI physiotherapy which offers exercises to help patients build muscle and promote a healthy cardiovascular system, whilst a machine learning algorithm adjusts the support based on each patient’s disease profile. Psychosocial support provides audio-based relaxation exercises to manage anxiety and depression. Patients can also contact a coach via the app who will answer app-specific questions and offer motivation.

Konstantin Mehl, founder & CEO of Kaia Health said: “Conventional rehabilitation as a treatment for COPD is expensive and resource-intense, particularly in developed countries with a rapidly ageing population and huge health care costs – which makes it difficult to integrate in healthcare systems. Therefore, it is underutilised even though international guidelines recommend its widespread use. This clinical study indicates that, by digitising therapy, we can democratise access to effective COPD treatment globally which can be administered in the comfort of a patient’s home. This will empower patients to take control and self-manage their COPD with evidenced-based, non-pharmacological, affordable alternatives.”

The study, “Digitalizing multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD with a smartphone application: an international observational pilot study,” was published in the November 2018 edition International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Dr. Frank Rassouli of the Hospital St. Gallen, Switzerland, who co-authored the research, said: “The Kaia COPD app has the potential to improve the management of COPD patients either living in remote areas with limited access to conventional pulmonary rehabilitation or where pulmonary rehabilitation is minimal or absent. The app complements any other COPD treatment as it empowers patients to better manage their disease in all areas.”

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