3M Introduces Smart Inhaler
With the number of individuals suffering from moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) expected to rise—65 million now to an estimated 80.6 million by 2034—so will the number of hospital admissions for asthmatic attacks.
Oftentimes with COPD, hospitals find patients require care due to poor adherence to the proper use of inhalers and similar treatment devices. In effort to curb device misuse and therefore lessen what researchers predict could become the third leading cause of death by 2034, 3M has introduced its Intelligent Control Inhaler, a digital inhaler that provides on-screen instructions and feedback to both patients and their health care provider via a smartphone app.
“We’ve done a tremendous amount of research during the development of this technology with patients, health care providers, and payers,” said Dr. Steven Wick, technical director of 3M’s Drug Delivery Systems division.
Like other inhalers, 3M’s “smart inhaler” is breath actuated, meaning it automatically releases a spray of medication when the person begins to correctly inhale. Beyond the digital elements, what makes the Maplewood-based manufacturer’s device innovative is its ability to control inspiratory flow rate and reduce errors in breathing techniques, which also allows for drug deliveries that are more consistent between breaths.
“Poor technique in using an inhaler, coupled with the challenges of getting patients to adhere to their medication protocols, can lead to exacerbations, increased used of health care resources and ultimately, a burden on health care systems,” Dr. Wick said. “By increasing competence and adherence, we can realize better patient outcomes and reduce health care costs.”
3M said it would develop its Intelligent Control Inhaler with an unnamed pharmaceutical company and expects the device will be in wide use by 2020.