What is Smart Inhaler Technology?

A recent survey conducted by the COPD Foundation observed adoption of mobile app technology and overall digital behaviors of patients. 291 individuals shared information about mobile use as well as their interest in smart inhaler technology. A smart inhaler integrates with your mobile phone using sensors and Bluetooth technology to track you daily usage and alerts you when you have missed a dosage. The mobile app may also provide insights into your health that may be shared with your doctor. The technology is believed to increase medication adherence which in turn decreases severe flare-ups and emergency hospitalizations.

Our survey found that:

  • 58% of respondents used mobile apps on a regular basis, however nearly 70% were unfamiliar with smart inhaler technology;
  • 66% would like a tool to help track medications;
  • 71% would like information on tips for living well with COPD included in a mobile app.

Smart Inhalers to treat COPD and track manage

When asked, "What other technology/digital solutions would you be interested in using to manage your COPD?" Respondents stated they would like:
"...to track oxygen saturation"
"...to tell me the last time I used my rescue inhaler as well as the total number of times used in a 24 hour period without imposing limitations."
"Symptom diary and information on air quality."
Smart Inhalers for COPD "To share the data about my medication routine with my care team or family members."

The COPD Foundation is always looking into innovative technology solutions for COPD management. What are your thoughts on smart inhaler technology or the use of mobile apps to manage COPD? Comment below!


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  • I think think the app would be a great tool, any type of app technology that can help achieve a certain goal is worthwhile investing some thought and research into it.
  • I think the idea of the app is great. There are times that I forget to take my Spiriva and Breo, but then there are times the depression sets in and I don’t want to take them. While I have great support at home, I don’t get the “Hey did you take your meds today?” Something to keep me going on the right track would be very helpful, in my opinion, because it’s something that tells you keep breathing. And take your meds. 😊

  • This new tracking wants to send info to your insurance - none of their business!

    • The one I use allows the options of sending data. One would send it via texting a link or putting it in an email. Nothing is automatically sent to anyone. When you say it "wants" to send, are you saying it "will" send it, or that is simply an option you have? I could see an advantage of using something like that in order to automatically send refills!
  • I am currently testing a smart inhaler. I am quite excited about the potential benefits it can have for the patient. Another huge benefit would be incorporating telemedicine. Using the same technology, doctors or RTs could help monitor compliance and adherence. The technology, at least with what I am testing, still has some bugs and isn't fully taking advantage of the potential,,,,,,,but it is a great start.
    We are at the cusp of what I think will be an explosion into the world of what I call "tele-tech".
  • I have just started the O2VERLAP research study in which the COPD Foundation and American Sleep Apnea Association are collaborating with a commitment to helping the overlap syndrome population. (ie people who use both cpap and oxygen for sleep)

    They are using an app to send information from my cpap to them to analyze.

    Another great example of how healthcare is getting smarter.