Patients taking inhaled medications, particularly those with asthma, have to comply with the prescribed regimen in order to achieve optimal results. As anyone in medical practice knows, medication compliance among patients can be remarkably low. Adherium, a company based in Auckland, New Zealand, has come up with technology to tackle this issue for patients using inhalers. We spoke with Arik Anderson, CEO of Adherium, about the company’s gadgets, how they help patients, and what potential the technology has in the future.
Medgadget: Please give us a short introduction to your technology from a clinician’s and patient’s perspective.
Arik Anderson: Adherium software is uniquely designed for the last mile in many chronic diseases, specifically for patients being able to successfully follow their physician’s care plan. It is currently geared toward asthma sufferers using inhaled medications.
For diseases like asthma we have the right medicine, physicians understand the disease. Tragically where we fall down is the deceptively easy task of following our doctor’s advice. Clinical studies show Adherium makes that easy, through a smart inhaler, and we are unique in carefully selecting an elegant approach that does not get in the way of the physician and the patient. Too many engineers want to build new digital doctors without going to medical school or being steeped in the experiences that make clinical judgement. Our technology strips away those distractions, and stays obsessively focused on making following the doctor’s plan easy and nothing else, as well as giving the doctor the clean and precise data that’s well served – again – by that strong clinical judgement the patient doesn’t always get the full benefit from.
The software helps patients manage chronic respiratory conditions by tracking medication usage through the inhaler, provides reminders to help ensure doses are not missed and administered correctly, and ultimately helps patients and their families enjoy lives with fewer symptoms.
Medgadget: What categories of patients are expected to benefit most from Smartinhaler technology?
Anderson: Our primary categories of patients include the following: children whose parents typically administer and monitor medication intake, elderly patients whose adult children or caregivers administer and monitor mediation intake, active young adults and high performance athletes.
Think about it, asthma continues to be the third-ranking cause of hospitalization for children under 15 years of age in the U.S[i]. It is the leading cause of missed school days among children 5 to 17[ii]. Families continue to struggle to cope with asthma, as every missed day of school means missed work. Students with asthma can be at a higher risk of poor performance[iii].
Medgadget: What inhalers does the Adherium system work with?
Anderson: Adherium’s system works with a variety of inhalers, covering both AstraZeneca and Glaxo Smith Kline medicines including Ventolin, Flovent/Flixotide, Advair/Seretide, Ventolin, Duolin, Respigen, Proair, Easybreathe, QVar, Symbicort, Pulmicort and Bricanyl.
Medgadget: Does the hardware component require the smartphone with the Adherium app to be nearby when dosing?
Anderson: No, Adherium’s technology utilizes the cloud for data and transfer storage, so a parent can monitor their child’s usage from school a few miles away, and adult children can view medication usage of their elderly parents from thousands of miles away.
Medgadget: What is the global availability of this product and when do you expect to enter new markets?
Anderson: Adherium’s Smartinhaler technology is currently distributed in Australia, New Zealand and in the EU. We will launch in the U.S. beyond our current presence in clinical trials later this year and have clearances in China and Japan.
Medgadget: Is your technology applicable to other medication types? Do you have any plans to expand your product portfolio?
Anderson: Yes, while Adherium’s software was designed for respiratory diseases, it is applicable to other chronic diseases where patient management plans are key to success. So we can expand to other chronic diseases with different therapy delivery systems.