Qualcomm, through its Wireless Reach initiative, is embarking on a 50-patient research project which will use mobile health technology to help show asthmatic children and teenagers where and how their worst asthma attacks occur. Zephyr Technology, maker of wearable vitals monitoring system BioHarness, is providing technology for the program, as is Asthmapolis, a startup that makes GPS-enabled sensors for asthma inhalers.
Fifty patients, aged seven to 17, will be selected from the pulmonary and asthma/allergy clinics at Rady Children's Hospital, a teaching and research hospital in San Diego. Each patient will get a remote monitoring kit including a Zephyr BioPatch for continuous monitoring of heart rate, respiratory rate, and activity; two Asthmapolis sensor-laden inhalers, and a Qualcomm Life 2net Hub, which will receive data from the sensors and send it to care providers over 3G.
By comparing data from the various sensors on the Asthmapolis mobile app and ZephyrLIFE Home portal, parents, patients, and providers will be able to see where patients were when they used their rescue inhalers and if there was a predictive spike in their activity and heart rate. This information will allow providers to personalize the patient's therapy, adjusting medications and helping them avoid behavior that might trigger attacks. Ultimately, Qualcomm hopes to prove these sensors can reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
Qualcomm Life had an existing partnership with Asthmapolis -- though Asthmapolis is primarily designed to work with smartphones, the company brought in the 2net Hub to help patients who might not have access to one. Zephyr has also been integrated with the 2net platform since early 2012.
Asthmapolis and Zephyr both raised money last quarter, with Asthmapolis netting $5 million in April and Zephyr picking up $2.4 million in May. Zephyr has also been finding its way into a number of hospital pilots, including a childbirth pilot with Massachusetts General Hospital and a congestive heart failure pilot in Flagstaff, Arizona.