AsthmaMD revamps app, adds unconnected peak flow meter

By Aditi Pai
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AsthmaMDAsthmaMD has revamped and released a new version of its app and also launched a new product, the AsthmaMD Peak Flow Meter, which is meant to be used in conjunction with the app.

"Peak flow meters have been around since 1950s, it's a proven technology that provide an affordable way to quantify lung performance," AsthmaMD founder Dr. Sam Pejham told MobiHealthNews in an email. "We basically modernized it...until now, when a patient would receive a peak flow meter, they would either not receive the proper instructions to use it, or after a few weeks of leaving their physicians office, they would not remember their physicians instructions. The video education module allows users to reference physician instructions at all times."

After patients use the peak flow meter, they must then manually enter their data into the app. The device is available at Walgreens, CVS, and online at Amazon.com for $19.99.

AsthmaMD chose not to make its meter connected because the company wanted to keep the device affordable and accessible to everyone. It also argues the device is more durable as an unconnected device. The device is currently priced at a level that is both affordable and covered by most insurance plans, the company said. Right now, many devices are priced out of that range for this market.

"Peak Flow is only one parameter for tracking asthma," an AsthmaMD spokesperson told MobiHealthNews in an email. "Users want to track their medications, symptoms, triggers, and add notes. Including an [wireless] connection would require users to fiddle with connecting and syncing an electronic peak flow meter with the app, while still having to manually enter medication and other parameters. We realized we didn't want to provide connectivity just to create something that is cool, but not have real practical value to most users."

Still, the company plans to launch a connected device in 2015. 

The AsthmaMD app helps patients manage their asthma. It prompts them to share various metrics, such as the medications they are taking, the time they had an asthma attack and how severe it was. Users can choose to share this information with the service so that AsthmaMD can correlate the aggregated, de-identified data with environmental factors.

The new version of the app includes a simplified asthma action plan, which Pejham said is time consuming for physicians to create and difficult for patients to understand. AsthmaMD aims to help physicians to write the plans easily and the app also guides people with asthma through a step-by-step process to follow the plan.

AsthmaMD's revamped app includes integrated medication reminders that change depending on the user's prescription. AsthmaMD tracks adherence so users can share this information with their physician through a portal, called MyAsthmaMD portal. Families and caregivers of the patient can log in to the portal if they want to also track the user's progress.

In March 2010, the FCC highlighted AsthmaMD in its 360-page National Broadband Plan and called it a “glimpse” of the potential that equipping consumers with health data can have on health outcomes.