LifeMap Solutions, the San Jose, California-based company that recently collaborated with Apple on one of the flagship apps for Apple ResearchKit, has launched a new pilot with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. LifeMap will team up with Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine and the National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute (NJHRI) to develop a COPD platform that includes both a mobile app and, down the road, a smart inhaler.
"At the core, you've got the patient-facing app, a COPD navigator," LifeMap CEO Corey Bridges told MobiHealthNews. "That’ll be given by doctors to patients and it’ll be configured and deployed during our pilot program, always with the doctor oversight. And that’s what we think of as our first step of making good on the promise of the mHealth revolution, which is basically bringing engaging tools into the hands of patients to help with self-management of whatever condition they have."
The app will allow patients to track symptoms, medication, treatment adherence, and quality of life. It will also provide educational content from NJHRI and real-time alerts about the weather and air quality. As the pilot program continues, LifeMap will also begin testing two other elements of the program: a smart inhaler sensor and a clinician dashboard. The Bluetooth-enabled inhaler sensor, Bridges mentioned, integrates with Apple HealthKit and will be able to track usage of each of a patient's inhalers.
"A lot of COPD patients have at least two medications: The maintenance inhaler, which they take two times a day on some regular frequency, and then the rescue inhaler, which they utilize if they’re starting to have special difficulties breathing or in a challenging spot," Bridges said. "Using the rescue inhaler is at the discretion of the patient, and it’s something the patient should track, something the doctor should know about. ... And not only are we tracking the mere usage of that, the app can also, at the discretion of the user, log that by location, time of day, so suddenly you start to get this emerging set of data that can help be useful in potentially predicting triggers for the patient in question."
Doctors can also set up an alarm in the dashboard that will trigger if a patient uses their rescue inhaler a certain number of times overall or relevant to their use of the maintenance inhaler.
The Mount Sinai pilot will be ongoing and iterative, and over time it may even incorporate additional wearable sensors, Rafhael Cedeno, LifeMap CTO and Head of Product told MobiHealthNews. The goals of the pilot will be to refine the user experience for patients and physicians, and also to develop algorithms that make the best possible use of the data collected to prevent exasperations. They'll also be learning from the ResearchKit asthma study at the same time.
"Given our background in the asthma app, it’s all about collecting information from the user and developing algorithms to prevent events and exasperations," Cedeno said. "That’s something where we’re working specifically with the physicians, learning what data sets to collect, and starting early from the first day, that dataset may actually expand and we’ll see what can give us the best results."
"Internally, we have several stages to the pilot, which you could say are roughly analogous to different beta stages in non-health-related software development," Bridges added. "We’ll be moving though a process that gets the full solution into a greater and greater number of hands, to make sure it works as designed and to make sure it has a positive effect on patient outcomes, but generally speaking the notion is to get it into ever increasing different use cases."