New COPD App to Help Patients in Canada Track and Treat Their Disease

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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Propeller Health COPD app

The Lung Association in Canada, as part of its Breathing as One research campaign, and Aeri Health, a company from Vancouver specialized in health management, have partnered to launch a novel mobile app for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

According to a news release, the app will enable Canadians with COPD to keep track of their symptoms, check medication adherence, monitor use and dosage, follow treatment schedules, and recognize lifestyle and behavioral triggers to better manage their condition. The health information can be saved and shared with caregivers and physicians to enable early intervention.

“Aeri COPD acts like a mobile health coach, empowering individuals to take a more active role in managing their health and improving their quality of life,” explained Vincent Lum, President and CEO of Aeri Health. “COPD usually requires attention and treatment correction more frequently than can be covered through routine visits to a care provider. Aeri COPD provides immediate information to caregivers and can help fill the gaps between doctor visits, providing ways for patients to provide accurate information on the state of their health to the doctor, so the physician can provide the most appropriate level of care to manage the condition.”

COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada, and particularly affects women. In addition to the 750,000 Canadians already diagnosed, it is estimated that another 750,000 have the disease but are not yet formally aware of it. Chronic lung diseases — COPD, asthma, and lung cancer — cost the Canadian economy $12 billion annually.

“Unfortunately many COPD patients take as little as 40% of their prescribed medications, which impacts their ability to manage their symptoms but more importantly makes them more likely to have exacerbations,” said Dr. J. Mark FitzGerald, Professor of Medicine and Head of The University of British Columbia (UBC) Respiratory Division.

The Aeri COPD app is the first part of a larger COPD management platform to be introduced by Aeri Health. The company will offer a premium subscription for the Aeri COPD that includes a mobile pulse oximeter, allowing individuals to monitor their heart rate blood and oxygen levels, two key vital signs, using a smartphone. A part of the profits from the subscription service will be given to The Lung Association’s Breathing as One Campaign for Lung Research.

Aeri Health’s integrated service platform intends to aid physicians and caregivers in helping patients manage their disease, by encouraging morale and monitoring patient’s symptoms in real-time, so as to optimize care, and reduce hospitalization rates and healthcare costs. Aeri Health believes its app platform may be extended to other chronic diseases like pneumonia, asthma, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea, and hypertension.

The Aeri COPD app can be downloaded here or through iTunes. Premium subscriptions are can be purchased through the Aeri Health website. At the moment, it is only available for use with iPhones or iPads. The Aeri COPD app was developed by Aeri Health in cooperation with UBC, the Child and Family Research Institute, and BC Children’s Hospital.