Respiri brings wheezo device and app to US market

Australian digital health company Respiri has rolled out its wheezo device, app and healthcare monitoring portal at Michigan Children’s Hospital, the first US customer for the technology.

The Software as a Service (SaaS) platform is used to detect wheeze, a typical symptom of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory illnesses, giving an objective measure of airway obstruction.

After a pilot phase, the wheezo system – which was approved by the FDA last year – has now been integrated with Access Telehealth’s remote patient monitoring platform Remotli at Michigan, and is expected to be used by the first US patients in the coming weeks.

The rollout will focus on children with asthma in an effort to reduce exacerbations and hospitalisations, improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs, with the entire system reimbursable. Access is now working on integration work with Michigan’s electronic medical record (EMR) system.

Respiri claims (PDF) that monitoring and maintenance of irregular breathing patterns in respiratory disease patients is lacking in the US at the moment.

In asthma for example, the current standard of care relies on questionnaires based on patient recall and responses, and can give subjective results. Meanwhile, other tests such as spirometry to test lung function are not user-friendly as they require forced breathing, and can be difficult to administer to children and the elderly.

Using wheezo, patients record 30 seconds of normal breathing with the device placed against the trachea, which Respiri says is enough to provide an objective assessment if wheeze that can help diagnose conditions and guide treatment.

The mobile app assists patients with managing their asthma by tracking symptoms, triggers, medication use and environmental factors that can affect their illness, such as pollen and pollution levels.

In a recent corporate update, Respiri said it had decided to pivot to the US market as Australia “has a long way to go” when it comes to the adoption of remote patient monitoring, while the US already has a defined reimbursement framework in place.

Analysts at Edison said the first US installation is a milestone for Respiri, as the need for the implementation of new systems “has historically been a major barrier to entry for new services into hospitals and healthcare providers.”

“We expect feedback from the first-patient access at the Michigan Children’s Hospital to lay the foundation for subsequent uptake of the product and associated services,” said Edison’s Soo Romanoff and Jyotli Prakash in a client update.

“We note that Detroit, the location of the children’s hospital, is home to over 70,000 children living with asthma and the hospital offers extensive asthma outpatient services, providing a sound launchpad for Respiri to release its device.”

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