Tuesday, June 25, 2024

“UK first” as new NHS funded study of digital Smart Inhalers for children with asthma starts in Leicester

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A new study exploring the use of Adherium‘s Smart Inhalers to prevent asthma flare-ups in children and young people has started in Leicester. This is the first time that a UK study will identify high-risk children and young people who could benefit from a Smart Inhaler from a systematic search of GP records, and if the study is successful, could pave the way for its wider adoption across the NHS says .

Several GP practices across Leicester will give up to 300 children aged from 5-16 years the Hailie device, which fixes on to their usual inhaler. The Hailie gives audible reminders and monitors inhaler use and technique, and provides feedback to the child and their family via a smartphone app. Simultaneously, the child’s medical team can see the data online, enabling them to monitor and support families in real time, with the aim of intervening early and reducing asthma flare-ups.

“This could be a real turning point for the way we help children with high-risk asthma in the UK,” commented Dr Erol Gaillard at the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, who is leading the study. “We know that many people with asthma struggle with taking their medication regularly as prescribed. This study represents a huge joint effort from NHS, the University, charity and the MedTech industry to demonstrate how devices like Hailie can help to better control asthma and keep children out of hospital.”

Norah, age 10, from Western Park in Leicester is one of the first children recruited to the study. She has struggled with her asthma since being diagnosed at age 5. Mum Hayley comments:

“I’m really pleased that Norah is on this trial as I want it to help her while also benefitting other children with asthma who may get Smart Inhalers in the future, if this trial is successful. Norah is such a sporty little girl, who is so full of life. I never want asthma to hold her back.”

Asthma is the most common, long-term medical condition in children in the UK, with around one million children and young people living with asthma (around one in 11, or 3 in every typical class room). The UK has one of the highest prevalences, emergency admissions and death rates for childhood asthma in Europe, despite emergency admissions, and deaths, relating to asthma being largely preventable with improved management and early intervention.

Outcomes are worse for children and young people living in the most deprived areas. Nearly half (43%) of Leicester’s 0–15-year-olds live in the most income-deprived 20% of areas nationally and Leicester is ranked 18th amongst the UK Local Authority districts with the highest proportion of income deprivation (19.6% of the population live in income deprived households).

Adherium Europe Limited is a leader in respiratory eHealth, remote patient monitoring and data management solutions and manufactures the Hailie digital inhaler family. Helicon Health Ltd is a leader in delivering healthcare virtually and in this study, will deploy and support Adherium’s Hailie digital inhalers in collaboration with the University of Leicester team.

The study is backed by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board, the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research Patient and Public Involvement group, Health Innovation East Midlands and Asthma + Lung UK, and has received funding of 499,871 USD from the Small Business Research Initiative Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare), an Accelerated Access Collaborative Initiative.

The goal of the study is for better asthma control – measured by rescue medication use, a symptom questionnaire and the number of flare-ups children with the Smart Inhaler experience.

Dr Imad Ahmed, Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at University Hospitals of Leicester and Children and Young people Clinical lead at the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board commented: “We are excited about the potential that this study may have for children at high risk of serious asthma flare-ups in Leicester and are pleased to collaborate with the University of Leicester on this project. I would particularly like to thank the primary care practices who are participating in this important research. Funding this study demonstrates that the NHS is keen to embrace new technology where it can be proven to improve outcomes, and we look forward to seeing the results.”

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