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If you thought smartphones, tablets and wearables being used as legitimate medical devices for more than monitoring your heart rate and storing basic medical history is a few years away, you might want to adjust your time horizon. LifeMap Solutions, a growing digital therapeutics provider, just launched a pilot program for its COPD Navigator app. According to LifeMaps CEO Corey Bridges, “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease—COPD—is the third leading cause of death in the US, and it affects an estimated 24 million Americans. But patients can slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life through effective self-management.”

Developed in partnership with researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and with COPD experts from the Mount Sinai – National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute, COPD Navigator is an Apple iOS health app that enables patients to better manage COPD with an iPhone or iPad. The app tracks patient data including symptoms, medication and treatment adherence as well as overall quality of life. This information is seen in a user-friendly graph that allows patients to recognize patterns in their own health history and share this data with their doctors. Additionally, the app helps patients avoid environmental risk factors via real-time alerts about local air quality and extreme weather, and it offers educational content from leading respiratory hospital, National Jewish Health.

COPD is not the only medical issue that mobile health technology (mHealth) is breaking ground on to help patients. The Neutun is a new app developed by Neutun Labs to help epileptic patients. As MedGadget points out in recent article, the tracking of epileptic seizures is a crucial component in customizing therapies for epileptic patients. Traditionally, this has been done by patients keeping journals of seizures. Because this manual approach is often inaccurate due to low patient compliance and patient difficulty gauging epileptic episodes, the Neutun app was created to increase the ease and precision of seizure tracking.

The Neuton app operates with the Pebble smartwatch via Apple and Android platforms. The app uses motion sensors inside the smartwatch to identify seizures and immediately start to record the intensity and lengths of the events. Furthermore, the app can send a text message to family members on a pre-set list to notify them that a seizure is occurring. While it is only available for the Pebble watch at the present time, the Neuton app is in the process of being made compatible with other devices.

COPD Navigator and Neuton apps are examples of how mHealth continues to advance beyond the basics. Given the need for more efficient ways to manage personal health and the possibilities technology offers, we are likely to see more forms of mHealth in less time.


Ryan Lahti is the founder and managing principal of OrgLeader, LLC. Stay up to date on Ryan’s STEM-based organization tweets here: @ryanlahti

(Photo: NEC Corporation of America, Flickr)