Smart Peak Flow – the medically certified asthma monitoring device that plugs into a the headphone jack of a smartphone.
The World Health Organisation estimates that there are 235 million asthma sufferers worldwide, with a morbidity rate that has reached 10% in developed countries and continues to grow.
While 80% of asthma deaths occur in low-income countries, NRAD shows 1,500 people die of asthma attacks each year in the UK alone – an average of 4 per day – and more than half of these deaths are people who have only mild or moderate asthma.
Peak flow (PEF) meters have been the gold standard for tracking these variable airway obstructions since the 1960s, yet patient adherence levels have been shown to be as low as 9%, and even when PEF data is presented to clinicians, inaccurate and fabricated results have been as high as 60%.
Now, an innovative new device is set to address these issues, and revolutionise the monitoring and management of asthma. Smart Peak Flow is the world’s first fully certified medical peak flow device that connects to a smartphone app.
The small device plugs into the headphone jack of any smartphone. Users simply blow into the mouthpiece three times so the accompanying app can record variable lung function over time. The app then provides a chart of results that reveal whether a patient is in a green (safe), yellow or red (at risk) zone, allowing accurate results to be shared instantly with a doctor or caregiver.
While mechanical peak flow devices have been able to monitor lung function accurately for more than half a century, patient adherence is recognised as a widespread problem in asthma treatment. Numerous interventions have been shown to improve adherence, including electronic reminders, patient education and one-to-one feedback to patients, but in practice the widespread implementation of these measures has proven too difficult, cumbersome or expensive.
Smart Peak Flow delivers these interventions for little more cost than that of a standard peak flow meter. Via the accompanying app, asthma patients receive reminders, educational information and improved motivation through symptom-free periods, as well as enabling them to share PEF data instantly with doctors for analysis via email, which is crucial for occupational asthma.
Smart Peak Flow is both accurate and intuitive to use, so any guesswork is eliminated and the potential for human error minimised. As well as saving lives, this improved accuracy can help doctors and patients to better understand exactly when appropriate medication is required, leading to healthier practices, and potentially long-term savings to the NHS on asthma medication.
Smart Peak Flow was invented by Dr Thomas Antalffy. After three years working with a team of respiratory health specialists at Imperial College London, Smart Peak Flow achieved full certification as a medical device to become the world’s first peak flow meter to utilise smart technology.