More than 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, and that number is expected to grow by another 100 million by 2025, according to the World Health Organization. In the USA, 25 million have asthma, including 10% of American children. The annual cost burden of asthma in the US is reported by the CDC to exceed $56B. Other chronic respiratory illnesses increase this market opportunity for iSonea’s products/technologies.
The severity of asthma varies widely over time and can interfere with sleep and the ability to function normally at school or work. The cause is not always obvious, especially in children. Spirometry, the current standard of care for testing lung function in clinical settings, can be challenging in that it requires cooperation and effort from the patient. As a result, young children, infirm elderly, and patients with nocturnal asthma are usually not candidates for spirometry. Peak flow meters provide a portable method for remote self-monitoring, however this still requires considerable patient effort and inconvenient daily record keeping. Published, peer reviewed studies have shown that patient compliance is poor and self-interpretation of results is often unreliable.
Poorly controlled asthma is associated with increased emergency visits, hospitalizations, medical costs, and death. Asthma management guidelines from the US Centers of Disease Control (CDC), the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend frequent self-monitoring in real-life settings to increase patient awareness, improve asthma management outcomes, and lower healthcare costs. Consequently, there is a significant unmet need for more convenient and effective means of remote, chronic monitoring asthma.
The Company and its Vision
iSonea Ltd (ASX:ISN; OTCQX:ISOAY) is developing innovative, non-invasive devices and mobile health applications using Acoustic Respiratory Monitoring (ARM™), to improve the management of costly, chronic respiratory disorders such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). By combining this proprietary technology with its AsthmaSense™ mobile apps and universally available smartphones, iSonea enables anyone, anywhere, at any time to monitor breathing distress symptoms, in order to take action and improve personal outcomes. iSonea’s core ARM™ technology has produced 3 devices that have received clearance from the U.S. FDA, the European Union CE, and the Australian TGA.
Currently iSonea is offering the AsthmaSense application via Apple and Android providers. This application allows patients to remind themselves about medications, record symptoms, have emergency contacts at their fingertips and analyze the management of their asthma.
This mHealth app will be expanding to incorporate new and useful features, such as GPS-based weather and environmental data, symptom risk assessment, medication compliance tracking, and real-time monitoring functions using ARM™ sensors and software. These ARM devices are portable and require no physical exertion by patients, so they can be used to record and interpret respiratory symptoms with anyone, including infants or the elderly. Launch of new products are planned through 2013.
Integrating this ARM™ technology with new sensors and smartphone capabilities will produce a unique, next generation monitor that can recognize increased risks for asthma attacks, alerting the patient to take action and improve personal outcomes. This system can also track the patient’s condition and response to treatment. With >500 million smartphones sold in 2011 and >1 billion expected to be sold annually by 2015, this platform will provide universal, cost effective access to enabling convenient self-monitoring and automatic communication to families & physicians at an affordable price. The system will also create a valuable repository for aggregate compliance and outcomes data to benefit pharmaceutical/medical device therapy companies, insurers, and physicians.
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