Sunday, June 17, 2012

Using Tech to Manage Asthma

With the help of a Madison, Wisconsin-based company called Asthmapolis, a project using cell phones to help asthma patients was initiated in Louisville Kentucky. It was just announced that the Louisville asthma demonstration project has begun enrolling patients in a year-long asthma study. The study is being undertaken to help the city identify possible causes of asthma attacks in the region and help patients better manage their illness. 

Louisville ranks high among U.S. cities in both allergens and poor air quality. A 2009 survey indicated that 15 percent of adults in the area have asthma, which is higher than both the state rate of 14.9 percent and the national percentage of 13.5.

Five hundred participants are being enrolled that:

  • Have a medical diagnosis of asthma and do not have an accompanying diagnosis of COPD or lung cancer
  • Have a current prescription for an emergency inhaler
  • Speak English and are 5 years old or older
  • Have internet and/or email access to receive reports, including a compatible

The enrollment and study will take place at eleven Walgreens locations across Louisville from now until November 2012. Of the total participants receiving the inhaler sensor, 100 enrollees will also have a sensor provided to track their use of controller medication. As of this month, the Asthmapolis medication system and associated software has not yet been cleared for use by FDA.

Asthmapolis was founded in 2010 and was able at that time to receive funding and partner with several organizations such the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) which has invested more than $2.5 million since 2010 in healthcare services, technologies, and devices.

For example, On June 12th, the company CareInSync received $500,000 through the CHCF Health Innovation Fund. CareInSync is a care collaboration company that provides mobile technology and proprietary software to help providers coordinate safe and timely transitions between hospitals and community-based providers. The software makes this possible by giving providers a dashboard of the care continuum with checklists, notifications, and reminders designed to help speed discharge, improve patient flow, and reduce hospital readmissions.

The fund is led by the Foundation’s “Innovations for the Underserved” program that is trying to lower healthcare system costs and improve access for the underserved. According to Margaret Laws, Director of the “Innovations for the Underserved” program, the fund seeks to support technologies, products, and services to provide access to care for 100,000 Californians or deliver $25 million in annual cost savings, or both. The Foundation plans to invest $10 million through the CHCF Health Innovation fund over three years.

For more information, go to and for information on Asthmapolis, email David Van sickle, Co-founder and CEO at