Sensor technology yields innovative asthma training device

Sensor technology yields innovative asthma training device
Cambridge Consultants has announced the development of T-Haler, an asthma inhaler training device that is said to more than double patient compliance.

T-Haler relies on interactive software linked to a wireless training inhaler, which monitors how a patient uses the device and provides real time feedback via an interactive video game. It is designed to provide visual feedback to the user on their performance and the areas that need improvement.

When testing more than 50 healthy participants aged between 18 and 60, Cambridge Consultants found that only 20% were able to use an inhaler correctly. This was said to dramatically increase once the T-Haler training system was introduced.

"What was remarkable about the T-Haler in our own study was how quickly the participants learned, and how well that knowledge stayed with them," said Kate Farrell, senior design engineer, Medical Technology at Cambridge Consultants. "Without any human direction beyond the word 'go', participants went from around a 20% success rate without training to a success rate of more than 60% after only three minutes with the T-Haler device.

"This is more than twice the compliance rate we have seen in other studies with trained participants. Interestingly, a week later, 55% were still correctly using the device – showing that they retained what they learned."

According to Farrell, the T-Haler measures three key factors for proper inhaler use. First, whether the patient has shaken the inhaler prior to breathing in; second, the force with which they breathed in; and third, when they pressed down on the canister (the step which releases the drug).

An on-screen interface takes the user through the process, which is said to take just three minutes to complete.

Laura Hopperton

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