Healthcare Technology Featured Article

October 17, 2013

iSonea Helps Asthmatics Assess Likelihood of an Attack

Parents of asthmatic children may breathe a sigh of relief after learning about a new solution from iSonea. The company sells a device and related services that can help moms and dads assess the likelihood that their children will have an asthma attack, and take steps to try to prevent that possibility.

That’s the word from Michael Thomas, CEO of iSonea, a publicly-traded company out of Australia that recently launched its mobile health chronic disease management solutions “down under,” and that expects to bring it them the U.S. in the first half of 2014.

“A mild asthmatic, you just have one attack and you can die,” says Thomas, adding that because of this high level of risk it makes sense to monitor asthmatics on a regular basis.

Photo courtesy of Paula Bernier

iSonea enables asthmatics of any age to do this by using the AirSonea wheeze monitoring device, which is sold online and through retail locations like pharmacies. The patient puts the fold-out flap on the device on his or her neck by the trachea to get a reading on the frequency of his or her wheezing. AirSonea connects to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth, and the AsthmaSense app (available on Google Play and iTunes) on that smartphone sends the data it collects to the AsthmaSense Cloud where algorithms reside. The cloud then pushes the reading back to the user’s smartphone app.

iSonea also offers AsthmaSense Prime, a subscription-based service that adds value by delivering additional related information such as local pollen count, information about others on the system that have experienced asthma attacks in a given window of time, and more. (In Australia, the company is charging $170 for the device and a one-year subscription fo AsthmaSense Prime; pricing is expected to be about the same when the solution debuts in the U.S.)

The concept of monitoring asthmatics in this way is a new one, says Thomas, and there are no benchmarks about how much is too much wheezing. In any case, wheezing on a given day is just one data point, he says. The point is that you can take these readings and over time assess what kind of activities and environmental factors make the patient wheeze more, so the patient can modify his or her behavior or change locations in an effort to lower the chance of an attack.

 “We’re trying to show cause and effect,” says Thomas.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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