RespirTech, an important provider of airway clearance therapy vests, is developing an innovative way for clinicians to remotely monitor the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, funded by a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant – which provides early stage capital for research with a strong commercialization potential – from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“By monitoring patients’ lung function and therapy adherence at home, clinicians can optimize patient care,” RespirTech CEO K. James Ehlen, M.D., said in a press release. “A primary goal of this initiative is to use ongoing data to detect and address pulmonary issues before they require more serious and costly interventions.”
With unmatched precedents, two pivotal diagnostic tools (spirometry, which measures lung function) and treatment (high-frequency chest compression, or HFCC, in this case RespirTech’s inCourage System, which helps to clear patients’ airways of excess mucus) used in the management of cystic fibrosis will be now made available in a coordinated system that transmits therapy data to any smartphone connected to a wireless network.
The information will be shared with the patients’ healthcare providers via web transmission, providing them with a more comprehensive picture of their patients’ status.
“From a patient perspective, there will now be a level of support that didn’t exist before,” said Dan Spors, co-founder of Health Factors, which is collaborating to create and implement the device. “The patient does the same therapy, but the care staff will have new information and greater visibility into what the patient is doing. They will be able to correlate symptoms and objective device information, providing better context for making decisions.”
The novel monitoring system will enable clinicians to use current data to quickly identify and respond to alterations in their patients’ pulmonary function. The HFCC-prescribed regimen can then be adjusted, as well as their monitoring needs. This type of remote monitoring might be particularly valuable for patients who live in areas with little access to cystic fibrosis specialists.
More than 70 percent of the American adults and 90 percent of children living with cystic fibrosis use HFCC vest therapy. This is why 95 percent of the 110 CF Foundation-accredited CF Care Centers in the United States prescribe HFCC for their patients as a standard airway clearance intervention.
Recent research has shown that patients who take therapy seriously might experience fewer respiratory infections and a reduced need for antibiotics.
“We look forward to applying these technologies for patients with cystic fibrosis and other chronic airway conditions like COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] and bronchiectasis. Measures that lead to better therapy adherence and more robust treatment information can contribute to better outcomes,” Ehlen said. “Improved outcomes are good for patients, their caregivers and the health care system.”