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AstraZeneca forms 'smart inhaler' digital health partnership

Follows separate deal for a health coaching app for heart attack patients

Adherium AstraZeneca smart inhaler

Adherium's Smartinhaler technology

AstraZeneca has formed a digital health partnership with Australian medical device company Adherium that will see the firms collaborate on the use of 'smart inhalers'.

Adherium's Smartinhaler electronic monitors record the time and date of inhaler use and then transmit the information to the patient's mobile and their doctor.

The company said that AZ will use its device technology as the “pivotal component” within its global patient support programmes for patients with COPD and asthma. 

AZ has already used Adherium's technology in clinical trials, as well as piloting its use as a support tool to help patients manage their condition.

The pharma company will initially use the technology to monitor patients' use of therapy and to provide personalised advice to patients based on their condition and medication use.

Future developments of the technology could see additional sensors added to it so assist with patient monitoring and, potentially, to assess a patient's personalised risk factors. 

Adherium said the deal was a world-first in its combination of digital health technology and blockbuster inhaler medications to improve health outcomes for patients with respiratory conditions.

Less than half of patients with asthma take their preventative medications as prescribed. In clinical trials the use of Adherium's Smartinhaler has been show to increase adherence by up to 59% in adults and 180% in children with asthma.

Health coaching mobile app

The Adherium deal is AZ's second digital health collaboration in a week, and follows hot on the heals of its tie-up with Vida on a live coaching app.

Their agreement will see the partners create a new app, called Day-By-Day, for patients who have had a heart attack.

Vida's health coach app, which is generally used by those whose goal is weight-loss, usually costs $49 per month but AZ will cover the cost of eligible patients using the Day-By-Day app.

The app won't be freely available to all, however. Instead it will be launched through a trial programme involving Duke University in North Carolina.

The Day-By-Day app may help AZ in its attempts to go 'beyond the pill', but it will be unbranded and has been designed to be used by patients, irrespective of which companies' drugs they have been prescribed.

John McCarthy, vice president of global commercial excellence at AstraZeneca, told Fortune: “The science is the core of our business, but patients today are expecting more. We see that taking advantage of technology alongside the power of science is the best thing for patients. It's about extending the customer experience.”

24th July 2015

From: Marketing



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