St. Louis-based Sparo Labs is now selling Wing, its FDA-cleared, over-the-counter smartphone sensor to manage asthma and other respiratory conditions. The device was cleared in June and is available directly to consumers, although the company has also indicated they are eyeing pharma and providers as potential distribution channels as well.
Wing is a pocket-sized spirometer with a cloud-connected companion app that measures and tracks lung function, ultimately aiming to reassure parents of children with asthma and help them proactively manage the condition.
The sensor and app work to measure the fastest speed and maximum volume a person can exhale in one second (forced exhalation and peak flow volume), and the results are displayed on the smartphone screen with a “stoplight zone” system, displaying a green, yellow or red indicator and an explanation of how the lungs are doing in that particular moment. If Wing user falls into the yellow zone, they (or their parents, in the case of pediatric users) will be notified to use their quick-relief albuterol inhaler to prevent an oncoming attack, and they can also use the device to ensure medication is working correctly, or, in Wing-speak, in the “green zone.”
The idea with Wing is for patients (or their parents) to learn how to anticipate an attack before it happens. Since many people have difficulty recognizing the early warning signs of an asthma attack, they may not see a problem until the person with the condition is having trouble breathing or experiencing a full-blown attack. As such, the condition ends up being managed reactively with a visit to the emergency room or a hospitalization.
“Today, most patients just have to wait until they literally cannot breathe,” Sparo cofounder Abigail Cohen told MobiHealthNews a few months ago, when the company received FDA clearance. “They’re reacting to that, grabbing their rescue medication, taking some of that, hoping it works and going to the emergency room if it doesn’t.”
Cohen and her cofounder Andrew Brimer said the smartphone provides metadata, such as location, that provides more contextual information to the user that can help explain the complexities of asthma and its triggers, such as humidity, heat, or exercise. Once a patient and their family learn more about the warning signs, they can start taking proactive measures to manage their condition and prevent asthma attacks.
“People are able to track lung function and symptoms over time and pull in environmental factors,” Brimer previously told MobiHealthNews. “You can start correlating those things and adjusting the NIH-recommended asthma action plan from there.”
Wing’s cloud-based platform also enables multiple people to stay abreast of what’s going on with the user’s asthma control and care, such as family members, coaches, doctors and school nurses. The device is available on the company’s website and will begin shipping at the end of November.