New Technology Offers Assessment Before COPD Incidents

Health Tag offers peace of mind for breathing

A company called Spire Health has launched a study to develop digital biomarkers that can predict possible health disruptions in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).   

Spire’s Health Tag respiratory tracker allows the user to take a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ approach: stick the sensors onto the insides of commonly worn pieces of clothing, such as underwear. The sensors are machine washable and dryer safe, with a battery life of at least one year. They have the ability to record physical activity, heart rates, and sleep.

“You’ve got a population that is sick, elderly and not very tech savvy,” said Spire CEO Jonathan Palley. “The reality is that traditional monitoring and wearable devices have not worked well in this group of patients, for obvious reasons.”

What are the potential benefits of this technology? For one, there’s the potential for getting out in front of COPD-related health problems, resulting in fewer hospitalizations. But creating a gauge for respiratory quality is also on the table. Comparing the device to an EKG for breathing, Palley sees unlimited potential.

“We’re getting all these interesting patterns.” he said. “You start seeing changes in the breathing pattern, and the way the breath looks, as the patient starts worsening in the lead-up to hospitalization.”

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