Inhaler sensor startup CoheroHealth begins pilot at Mt. Sinai Medical Center

By Jonah Comstock
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herotracker profileCoheroHealth, a New York City-based startup working on medication adherence tracking for asthma inhalers, is launching a small pilot with Mount Sinai Medical Center. The company will test its platform, which includes an inhaler sensor, a mobile app, and a connected spirometer, on 50 pediatric asthma patients.

"There are 50 million patients with respiratory disease and it costs $80 billion per year to treat in America," cofounder and COO Daniel Weinstein told MobiHealthNews. "Half of that is directly attributed to lack of adherence. So $40 billion is a direct result of lack of adherence. It’s a great market opportunity because there’s so much money to be saved and so many patients whose lives could be improved, and it’s not yet crowded." Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the number of respiratory disease patients.

CoheroHealth's sensor fits over the controller inhaler, which is used daily as a preventative measure, while others working on similar offerings have primarily focused on connecting rescue inhalers. In addition, the ability to measure lung function with the spirometer gives doctors and patients additional data. 

"Because we track the use of the controller medication, we can also track the use of the rescue inhaler and track the resulting changes in lung function," Weinstein said. "By combining those three things we can do some really cool predictive analytics. From the patient-specific standpoint we can tell this patient’s headed for an adverse event, or we can say 'Hey this patient has been taking his medicine the way he’s supposed to, but he’s not getting better. Maybe the doctor needs to change the prescription.' We can also do some cool macro level things, we can track [whether] certain sub-populations do better or worse on a particular drug, and that’s useful for pharma. So we’ve gotten a lot of interest from pharma to monitor patient populations on their product."

The sensors send the data to the EHR, which allows caregivers to have a more complete view of the patients' health. But the mobile app also uses the sensor data in a gamified incentives program in which the user can get in-app rewards and gift cards for consistently taking their medication.

In the Mt. Sinai pilot, the 50 patients will be split into two groups. Both groups will use an inhaler with a CoheroHealth sensor attached and both groups will use a mobile-connected spirometer, but one group will use the app and the other won't.

"Basically, what we want to show is that patients who use our platform will be 'x' percent more adherent then patients who didn’t, and then hopefully also show changes in the spirometry," said Weinstein. "Patients will be in the study about 12 weeks, so we’re not sure if that’s enough time to show changes in lung function, but that’s part of the study."

The company, which is a veteran of multiple accelerators including Startup Health and Springboard, is targeting a number of customer groups, Weinstein said. While their initial focus is on pharma, there's a possible market for health plans, providers, and pharmacies. He said they're even considering a direct to consumer play for parents as a possible entry point into the market. The company is currently seeking seed funding to build the next version of the product.