Friday, January 29, 2016

Internet connected inhalers: Technology to watch

From Reuters:
Novartis wants every puff of its emphysema drug Onbrez to go into the cloud.
The Swiss drugmaker has teamed up with U.S. technology firm Qualcomm to develop an internet-connected inhaler that can send information about how often it is used to remote computer servers known as the cloud.

This kind of new medical technology is designed to allow patients to keep track of their drug usage on their smartphones or tablets and for their doctors to instantly access the data over the web to monitor their condition.

It also creates a host of "Big Data" opportunities for the companies involved - with huge amounts of information about a medical condition and the efficacy of a drug or device being wirelessly transmitted to a database from potentially thousands, even millions, of patients.
This technology has amazing potential. If you have an idea regarding how much this device would cost, send me a message on Twitter.

Presumably a more pricey inhaler wouldn't be disposable like the current plastic devices; It would be a reusable device that simply accepts replacement Onbrez cartridges as new prescriptions are filled.
In this case, the inhaler cost becomes less relevant as it's amortized over the life of the patient's disease (long) versus the life of the patient's prescription fill (short).

Since it's internet connected, presumably it would be easy to add features like a reminder at the next dose (i.e. sound or LED), automatic prescription refills, etc.

All in all, very nice!