Smartinhaler technology can improve asthma medication adherence, NICE says

A medtech innovation briefing (MIB) has been issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) on digital technology company, Adherium’s, Smartinhaler.

MIBs are issued in support of the NHS 5-Year Forward View and are intended to help accelerate innovation in new treatments and diagnostics and provide clinicians with an up-to-date summary of new innovative technologies.

Compared to the current standard of care, Adherium’s Smartinhaler is said to increase patient adherence to asthma medication, reduce hospital visits and time needed off school or work.

The Smartinhaler is a digital monitoring device which provides medication reminders and tracking inhaler usage. It does this by attaching to standard asthma inhalers. Data is analysed by the Smartinhaler online platform which can provide real-time monitoring of adherence to asthma treatments. The data can then be used to determine whether a review of the patients’ medication is necessary.

NICE’s briefing regards five randomised controlled trials in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The trials involved a total of 589 people with asthma using Smartinhaler in a community setting. NICE concluded that Smartinhaler devices were more effective than the current standard of care in improving adherence to asthma medication.

NICE argues that Smartinhaler could be used to lead to a change in the approach to routine asthma review. Data can be used to identify people who are in need of frequent review, or who do not need to be seen in person for an annual review. Real-time data was also highlighted by NICE as having significant potential. In particular it could allow for improved interactions between asthma patients and their clinicians.

Dr Louise Fleming, clinical senior lecturer, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, said: “I have been using the Smartinhaler platform as standard practice for patients within my asthma clinic and have seen first-hand the benefits to patient care that this technology can make.  Tracking and analysing a patient’s inhaler trends online and in real-time means that we can address and improve adherence, reducing asthma attacks and hospitalisations. This not only saves time and money, but also by putting the monitoring app directly in the hands of the patient, enables them to manage their condition more effectively, improving quality of life.”

Smartinhaler could help the 82% of UK patients who feel that their asthma is poorly controlled. Asthma UK’s Annual Asthma Survey 2016 report states that two thirds of asthma sufferers in the UK are still not receiving the basic care they need to manage their asthma properly, with more than a quarter of patients missing a week or more of work or education a year because of their condition.

Garth Sutherland, CEO of Adherium, said: “NICE’s briefing recognises the role that our Smartinhaler could take in improving the current standard of asthma care.  By adopting the digital technology that already exists and is so widely accepted in other areas of everyday life, we can help improve health outcomes. It is shocking that 82% of UK asthma patients feel their asthma is uncontrolled and we look forward to working closely with the NHS to bring the benefits of our technology to as many patients as possible.”

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