Kaia Health App for At-home COPD Rehab Available in North America

Margarida Maia, PhD avatar

by Margarida Maia, PhD |

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A smartphone app developed by Kaia Health to help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) manage their breathing difficulties at home, via a digital therapy platform, is now available in North America.

The mobile app’s availability followed findings in a clinical trial (DRKS00017275), conducted in Switzerland and Germany, to test the app’s ability to help COPD patients integrate physical and breathing exercises into their at-home routines.

Trial participants, all of whom had finished an in-hospital pulmonary rehabilitation program, were randomized to continue with rehab using the app or move to standard care as a control group. Findings showed that those assigned to the app’s use had significantly higher levels of physical activity over the study’s six months compared with control group patients. App users also experienced a reduction in the severity of their symptoms, including shortness of breath and fatigue.

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“I am so proud that we have been able to expand our digital therapy platform to now help patients living with COPD as well as those dealing with musculoskeletal issues,” Nigel Ohrenstein, president of Kaia Health, a digital therapeutics company, said in a press release.

“Maintaining physical activity in patients with COPD has been shown to decrease readmissions while increasing overall survival rates. Today, we are leading the industry charge by offering a new treatment option that is improving patients’ health and their quality of life,” Ohrenstein added. 

Breathing difficulties can be common as patients’ airways become narrowed and inflamed. These changes are permanent, but treatment can help slow symptom worsening.

As part of treatment, patients may be offered a pulmonary rehabilitation program with breathing exercises and other insights of help. Such a program is usually delivered in person, but could be difficult to access by those who live far from providing clinics.

By bringing a pulmonary rehabilitation program into patients’ homes via a smartphone, Kaia Health hopes to make such care more accessible and lower barriers to incorporating physical and pulmonary exercise into everyday life.

The app provides an individual, tailored training program that includes breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, plus tips and education about the disease.

According to the press release, “the Kaia Health COPD app digitizes and delivers affordable, accessible, physical PR [pulmonary rehabilitation] — considered the gold standard in COPD — directly to patients’ homes on their smartphones. It is available anytime and anywhere, without requiring an inpatient setting or a visit to a healthcare facility.”