App for iPhone, iPad, Android Tracks Asthma Symptoms, Medications

iSonea's AsthmaSense smartphone app allows patients prone to chronic wheezing and coughing to keep track of their symptoms and medication schedules.

Asthmatics who need to monitor their breathing have a new mobile tool. Medical technology company iSonea has unveiled an app called AsthmaSense for Apple iOS and Google Android to allow people with asthma to monitor their breathing and keep track of their medication routines.

An estimated 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's a lifelong chronic condition in which the air pathways become constricted, causing a whistling noise in the lungs called wheezing. Systems also include breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing.

iSonea launched AsthmaSense June 4.

The $3.99 app allows users to develop an asthma action plan. A journal enables users to record their peak flow, or the extent to which they can breathe out air. They can also record the amount of wheezing and coughing and track their medication schedules, often involving inhaler use.

AsthmaSense sends messages to patients when their condition is "not well controlled" or "poorly controlled."

"[The app] assimilates that information and gauges it against the [National Institutes of Health] guidelines for asthma management, and it will tell you if it senses that your medication use suggests that your risk profile is changing with respect to an asthma attack," Michael A. Cheney, vice president of marketing for iSonea, told eWEEK.

If a breathing emergency occurs, the app allows the individual to seek medical assistance. The app records up to two months of medication use. Patients can share this data with a physician, family member or caregiver.

AsthmaSense allows users to track lung function tests, asthma events and medication.

The app can help improve medication adherence, according to Cheney, who noted that only a fraction of people with asthma would ordinarily use peak flow meters without prompting from mobile tools.

In the future, iSonea plans to combine use of AsthmaSense with the company's WheezoMeter, which indicates the percentage of breathing time that involves wheezing, and its Acoustic Respiratory Monitoring (ARM), a tool that uses algorithms and signal processing to analyze sounds that sensors pick up from breathing, Michael J. Thomas CEO of iSonea told eWEEK.

The first generation of iSonea's asthma tools are focused on analyzing the sound of the lungs to get a sense of breathing patterns, said Thomas.

iSonea plans to build a mobile operating system around AsthmaSense to incorporate apps for other respiratory conditions.

"This is part of a long-term strategy to provide the ultimate operating system for people with asthma, and in essence an asthma security system," said Cheney. "That's one of the major unmet needs€”to improve monitoring in a daily setting so you're more in tune with risks before it's too late."

The app can track data for multiple users if more than one family member has asthma.

AsthmaSense will be "the standard for which all asthma and respiratory patients use," Thomas claimed.

"We want to be the mortar between the bricks for these technologies for the next several years," said Thomas. "We understand how critical it is to track your asthma, and so we built an app with key features that help you better manage your asthma anywhere, any time."

For the current product, users must enter their peak flow information manually, but future versions will be able to collect the info from peak flow meters connected through Bluetooth, said Cheney.

In addition, iSonea's asthma-monitoring platform integrates with Qualcomm Life's 2net cloud platform to allow physicians to track patients' progress.