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Mobile App in Development to Manage COPD

COPD Navigator screen

COPD Navigator screen. Click on image for a larger view. (LifeMap Solutions)

31 March 2015. A system combining an iPhone app and big data analytics is under development to help people with COPD manage their symptoms and health care providers monitor their condition. The COPD Navigator system is designed by LifeMap Solutions in San Jose, California and National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute, a joint service of National Jewish Health in Denver and Mount Sinai medical center in New York.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a progressive respiratory disorder that makes it difficult to breathe, and causes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. The leading cause of COPD is cigarette smoking, but other irritants like chemical fumes or air pollution can contribute to the condition.

COPD is a major cause of disability and the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Two major forms of the disease are emphysema, where walls between air sacs in the lungs are damaged and chronic bronchitis,where  the lining of the airways is constantly irritated and inflamed.

COPD Navigator— scheduled to be available in the second half of 2015 — is designed to track the patient’s symptoms, medication adherence, and overall quality of life. The mobile app is built on Apple’s HealthKit platform created for the latest iPhone operating system (iOS 8) and new Apple Watch, scheduled to be released in April 2015. The app connects to an inhaler device that shares information via a Bluetooth link, which enables the app to record when patients uses their inhalers.

The app, say the developers, also records environmental factors, such as air quality alerts, and behavioral conditions that can cause exacerbations, episodes where COPD symptoms flare up and become worse. Records of these episodes, combined with data on personal medication use, can provide the patient with the information needed to identify triggers and circumstances likely to cause breathing difficulties, and better manage the overall quality of their health. In addition, the app offers educational material on COPD from National Jewish Health.

COPD Navigator provides the same data to the patient’s physician, offering a continuous record of the patient’s symptoms and adherence to treatments. The physician’s version of the system makes it possible to track high-risk patients, such as setting alerts for specific events, and intervene earlier if required, with messages to their clients.

Data from COPD Navigator are provided as well to a database maintained by the genetics department in Mount Sinai’s medical school. The de-identified data will be used in research on COPD, as well as to develop algorithms for predicting exacerbations, identify interventions for the individual patient, and personalize treatment plans based on clinical history and demographic factors.

COPD Navigator is the second collaboration between LifeMap Solutions and Mount Sinai medical center. Earlier in March, LifeMap and Mount Sinai agreed to develop an asthma research app, also based on Apple’s HealthKit platform. The app is designed to make it easier for people with asthma to take part in studies directly from their iPhones. The Asthma Health app aims to help patients learn more about asthma and monitor their conditions, as well as promote positive behavioral changes, and reinforce adherence to treatment plans.

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