The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recognised digital platform Smartinhaler as the most effective means of improving asthma medication adherence in new guidance.
The Medtech Innovation Briefing - designed to accelerate NHS access to innovation in new treatments and diagnostics - reports that the device has also been proven more effective than the current practice in reducing hospitalisations and time needed off school or work.
Developed by Auckland, New Zealand-based digital health specialist Adherium Limited, the Smartinhaler technology clips onto standard asthma inhalers to monitor the activation of a patient's inhaler and provide audio and visual medication reminders.
It relays real-time data to a cloud-based application, which is analysed through the Smartinhaler online platform and shared with patients and their HCPs to determine if a treatment review is required.
The briefing is based on results from five clinical trials of 589 adults and children with asthma across Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Two of the trials showed statistically significant improvement in adherence, with one seeing 84% of patients using the Smartinhaler tech follow their treatment plans compared to 30% adherence in the control group. An additional trial is currently ongoing in Baselland, Switzerland.
NICE has outlined the technology's potential in reducing asthma attacks and hospitalisations, especially among those with poorly controlled and severe persistent asthma, but retains uncertainties over the comprehensiveness of some of the studies as well as the platform's cost-effectiveness.
The Smartinhaler is priced at £100 per device add-on, with an additional monthly cost of £14.17 per HCP for access to the cloud-based data and analysis. This is greater than the current standard care, but could come in at less should the device result in fewer costly hospital visits.
According to Asthma UK's Annual Asthma Survey 2016 report, emergency hospital admission is 23 times more expensive than an asthma review, with the annual cost of asthma care in the UK estimated at over £1.1bn.
Garth Sutherland, chief executive officer of Adherium, said: “NICE's briefing recognises the role that our Smartinhaler could take in improving the current standard of asthma care.
“By adopting the digital technology that already exists and is so widely accepted in other areas of everyday life, we can help improve health outcomes.
“It is shocking that [according to Asthma UK's report] 82% of UK asthma patients feel their asthma is uncontrolled and we look forward to working closely with the NHS to bring the benefits of our technology to as many patients as possible.”