By Henry Ehrlich
Last week we posted an item on our news page:
Company Develops Training Device to Help Raise Shockingly Low Correct Inhaler Usage — More than 50 healthy participants, aged 18-60, took part in a recent study conducted by Cambridge Consultants to test the efficacy of T-Haler. Before using the training system, the average success rate of the group in using an inhaler correctly was in the low 20 percent range — in line with numerous other studies carried out. The participants had no prior experience with asthma or inhalers and were given no human instruction beyond being handed the T-Haler and told to begin. The on-screen interface walked the group through the process, which takes just three minutes to complete.
“What was remarkable about the T-Haler in our own study was how quickly the participants learned, and how well that knowledge stayed with them,” said Kate Farrell, senior design engineer, medical technology at Cambridge Consultants. “Without any human direction beyond the word ‘go,’ participants went from around a 20 percent success rate without training to a success rate of more than 60 percent after only three minutes with the T-Haler device. This is more than twice the compliance rate we have seen in other studies with trained participants. Interestingly, a week later, 55 percent were still correctly using the device — showing that they retained what they learned.” More
As our readers know, we are constantly on the lookout for new developments in technology that will improve compliance with asthma treatments, among other things. The costs of poor compliance can be chronic misery, as well as tragedy.
In that spirit, I wrote to Cambridge Consultants about their new training method. This is the reply I received:
It was our own frustration with compliance and training that led us to investigate this approach and we were impressed with the results. Cambridge Consultants are a design and development consultancy with a market leading reputation in inhalation devices creating a significant number of novel devices for our Pharmaceutical and device clients over the last few years. T-Haler was a diversion from our usual design activities but having experienced the significant non-compliance issues through our work testing devices with users and with our know-how in sensors and communications as well as inhalation devices we invested in our technology demonstrator and carried out our own trial.
The primary motive was to get involved in a discussion around compliance and demonstrate a potential solution. We have no immediate plans to commercialize the product but if we should hear from anyone who is interested in taking it further then we would certainly be interested.
The device is designed for any medication delivered by metered dose inhaler, which would include both control and emergency medications.
Know anyone with deep pockets sympathetic to those with shallow breathing? Here’s an opportunity.