Patients using the COPD Navigator will receive real-time alerts about local air quality and extreme weather, which can make the disease worse.

 

Photo courtesy of LifeMap Solutions

Photo courtesy of LifeMap Solutions

      

Know someone with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)? If they’re interested in getting treatment and helping others as well, an iPhone-based app called COPD Navigator could help.

The COPD Navigator app works along with a smart inhaler to help patients manage their own treatment. During a pilot program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, physicians will work with patients using the app to help them improve their self-management of the disease.

COPD — the same disease that Leonard Nimoy died of recently — is described by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute as a disease that makes it hard to breathe and it gets worse over time. The disease can result in coughing that brings up large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest, among other symptoms. This VA Puget Sound Health Care System video compares a COPD patient’s experience to breathing through the tiny straw you use to stir your coffee with. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD, which claimed the lives of 134,676 Americans in 2010, according to the American Lung Association.

According to Health Data Management, the COPD Navigator will receive inhaler usage information from any Apple HealthKit-compliant, Bluetooth-enabled, smart inhaler device. In a six-month initial pilot with the app, the developer of the app, LifeMap Solutions, will work with the Mount Sinai — National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute in New York City. LifeMap will provide the smart inhaler to study participants.

Patients using the COPD Navigator will receive real-time alerts about local air quality and extreme weather, which can make the disease worse. Researchers at Mount Sinai will be able to track individual patients’ medication intake and identify potential environmental and behavior triggers. Researchers will also receive secure, anonymized data for ongoing research into COPD and other conditions, according to Health Data Management.

“Patients can slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life through effective self-management,” Corey Bridges, the CEO and co-founder of LifeMap Solutions, said in a press release. “The promise of the [mobile health device] revolution is to empower patients with self-management tools that are engaging and easy to use. COPD Navigator is the first product in our suite of chronic condition apps, which fulfill that promise.”

The COPD Navigator will be available for purchase in the second half of 2015, according to LifeMap Solutions.

Top photo courtesy of LifeMap Solutions