Royal Brompton Hospital and NuvoAir team up to improve the lives of Cystic Fibrosis patients
A leading digital health company and a major London hospital have announced a partnership that aims to improve the lives of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.
The agreement is between specialist lung and heart centre Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, and NuvoAir AB, which has designed an innovative mobile spirometer.
A spirometer measures how effectively a patient is able to inhale and exhale air from their lungs. It’s used to gauge the health of a person’s lungs, especially if they are suffering from a chronic respiratory condition.
NuvoAir’s Smart Spirometer, which was launched early in 2016 is a new generation of these handheld devices. It allows the patient to test the health of their own lungs by blowing into a mouthpiece which is connected to a smartphone. The result is recorded on to a smartphone app, which has also been developed by NuvoAir.
It only takes a few seconds to carry out this simple test which can be done in the comfort of the patient’s own home. This data can then be used by the patient or easily shared with their medical team.
This will now be accessed by doctors and physiotherapists at the Royal Brompton Hospital who will be able to visit NuvoAir’s digital platform to look at their patients’ lung health. Medical professionals can then focus on their most critical cases, thus optimizing their workflow.
It could also mean that many of the specialist London hospital’s 600 CF patients will no longer have to attend clinic so frequently. As well as saving them from having to travel to their hospital appointment, it will also reduce the chances of this vulnerable patient group picking up an infection. CF is a genetic condition affecting the movement of salt and water in and out of cells, so people with the condition suffer a build-up of sticky mucus in their lungs. This becomes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria which leads to patients suffering chronic lung infections.
Treatments for CF symptoms include medication such as antibiotics, steroids, and other drugs to thin out and loosen the mucus. CF patients are also encouraged to exercise and carry out daily breathing routines to help clear the airways. But still many patients are hospitalized each year due to chest infections and other complications.
In the UK, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust says that more than 10,400 are affected by this often life-shortening condition. The most recent figures from the charity last year (2017) reveal that for the first time, the proportion of people with CF aged over 16 has risen above 60% as survival rates continue to improve.
Professor Stuart Elborn, a respiratory consultant at the Royal Brompton and centre director for specialist adult cystic fibrosis, believes that digital technology has the power to revolutionize CF treatments.
“It’s important to build an holistic digital solution that is in the palm of the patient (with the app),” says Professor Elborn. “Together with NuvoAir we are developing this and giving patients the ability to share this data with us at the hospital .”
Helen Parrott, a physiotherapist at the Royal Brompton, explains how much more efficiently she has been able to work with CF patients since she started using the new technology.
“We spend a lot of time performing routine checks on people with CF,” she says.
“Giving patients the ability to measure their own lung health has reduced the need to bring patients to hospital so often. It means they have a better idea how stable they are and if new treatments are working. We can then have conversations about their data over the phone or the internet instead of bringing them to clinic making better use of our time and theirs’,
Lorenzo Consoli, CEO at the Swedish-based company NuvoAir, is very impressed with how the Royal Brompton has embraced the device his digital healthcare company has been working on since 2015.
“When I first met with the Royal Brompton last year I was excited to see how a hospital has such a revolutionary view on how to transform lives of CF patients,” he says.
“The Royal Brompton has a world class reputation of being at the forefront of pioneering research and treatment for those with lung conditions. We are honored to be working with them.”
Using the digital platform of the NuvoAir app can significantly improve the self-care for the patient too. Alex a CF patient at the Royal Brompton, says the technology has improved his day-to-day life immensely.
"When I was younger, I was once hospitalized the day after playing a football match." says Alex. "That day, I felt good but my lung health had severely deteriorated without me noticing. Later at the hospital, it turned out that by lung function had dropped by over 20% since my last check up. Today, with my smart spirometer, I'm able to perform a quick check at any time and avoid such life threatening situations"
It’s the first hospital in the UK that NuvoAir has teamed up with for such a project.
The below short clip summarizes the engagement:
Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, NuvoAir combines hardware, software and data to improve lives of people suffering from respiratory conditions and to enable better and faster clinical decisions. Early in 2017 NuvoAir received Euro 2M in seed capital from a leading Venture Fund in the Nordics.