Inhaler Technique

This latest post comes straight from our CEO Bronwyn Harris. Bronwyn is a physician and also the mother of a child with asthma.

Inhalers are awesome, but tricky!

I take for granted the inhaler that I give my daughter, but when I take a moment I can appreciate what a great invention it is. For many other conditions, such as heart disease, you have to swallow a pill, and it goes through your blood stream -- often spreading to the whole body -- before it can have an effect on a specific location (e.g. heart or blood vessels). An inhaler allows medicine to go quickly and directly to your lungs where it is needed!  This allows for quick action and less side effects overall.

As tremendous as they are, inhalers do have an Achilles’ heel: they aren’t easy to take, especially for children. Recent research from a team at Rice University highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article found that 70-90% (!) of people don’t use their inhaler appropriately, resulting in less medication getting to their lungs. This led me to actually read the packaging the next time I picked up my daughter’s new inhaler. The instructions, printed on that thin tissue type of paper, opened as big as a fold-up map (anyone remember what those are?)!  There are eight steps listed and steps 2-6 have to be repeated for the second puff. It definitely is more complicated than just swallowing a pill. Really reading through the instructions carefully for the first time I realized that I wasn’t shaking it for five seconds as directed, so I was in that 70% that had wrong technique! If you or someone you care for has asthma, I encourage you to take a moment and review your inhaler technique – there are many great online resources, here’s one that looked good to me. Remember that taking your medications regularly and correctly are an important step in maintaining asthma control!

World Asthma Day

The first Tuesday of May (today!), is World Asthma Day, organized by GINA -- the Global Initiative for Asthma -- with the goal of improving asthma awareness. While most people have heard of asthma and may know someone who is affected by it, many people do not understand it well. We have compiled a few basics here to do our part in promoting awareness and understanding.

  • Asthma is common, 1 in 12 people (about 25 million people in the U.S), and the prevalence is growing.
  • There is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled, so having asthma doesn’t have to mean strict limits on lifestyle. Many notable athletes manage the disease, including professional football player Jerome Bettis, a six-time Pro-Bowl running back!  This old advertisement featuring “The Bus” brought us some smiles in the office -- especially for those with Pittsburgh connections.
  • When asthma is controlled it means that the person has no asthma symptoms (or only infrequent, mild symptoms) and can perform all of their normal activities. When asthma is not well controlled there is a higher likelihood of experiencing an exacerbation (or asthma attack).

Despite the incredible wealth of information about the disease, for many people one big challenge of controlling asthma remains the lack of a gold standard measurement of asthma control. At Tueo Health we’re doing our best to change that – stay tuned!

 

What we're reading: assessing asthma control

From the "What We're Reading" series, here's a look at a recent publication in the journal Pediatrics from Dinakar, et al titled "Clinical Tools to Assess Asthma Control in Children." You can find it on PubMed here.

The abstract nicely summarizes the current standard for clinical tools to assess asthma control.  It states, "The nuances of estimation of asthma control include understanding concepts of current impairment and future risk and incorporating their measurement into clinical practice, "and goes on to note that many of the "currently available ambulatory tools to measure asthma control range are subjective measures" and that, "health care providers need to be vigilant" in order to "to choose the optimal set of measures that will adhere to national standards of care and ensure delivery of high-quality care customized to their patients"

When we see the words nuance, subjective, and vigilance all tied to the current standards for managing a serious chronic disease we see tremendous room for improvement, and we're looking forward to the day when we can bring clear, objective metrics to bear on this problem in a way that inspires confidence and gives everyone -- parents, children, and healthcare providers -- a chance to breathe a little easier.

3...2...1...

Tueo Health is excited to announce closing on its first equity financing in partnership with Launchpad Digital Health! Originating with research in the Stanford Biodesign program in 2014 our team has been building towards takeoff and the funding is a big step forward in our mission to bring improved asthma management to patients everywhere. The Tueo team will be sitting in-house with Launchpad's team of mentors and a dynamic group of other digital health companies in the heart of San Francisco for 2017. Come visit!

Launchpad Digital Health

Launchpad Digital Health

Congratulations to our research partners

We're happy to share the news that our collaborators at Stanford have been awarded a grant from Spectrum, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education to extend an observational study initiated by the Tueo Health team while part of the Stanford Biodesign program. The study is titled "Passive home monitor for objective measures of asthma control in children," and is building a foundation of evidence for key parts of Tueo's innovative concept for asthma management. Dr. David Cornfield, director of Pulmonary Medicine at Stanford and a pediatric pulmonologist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford is the Principal Investigator and is supported by Dr. Michelle Huffaker, a postdoctoral scholar in allergy and immunology.

More details on the many exciting projects funded by Spectrum are in this announcement.

MedTech Innovator

We're happy to share that Tueo Health was selected as one of the 2016 MedTech Innovator companies! There was more competition than ever for this year's batch of innovators. We just kicked off our involvement with the accelerator program in two days of pitches and rubbing shoulders with all the other great teams. We look forward to engaging with everyone in the MedTech Innovator network, and being a part of the Advamed conference in October.

Tueo Health co-founders William Kethman and Todd Murphy at the MedTech Innovator kick-off in Menlo Park, CA

Tueo Health co-founders William Kethman and Todd Murphy at the MedTech Innovator kick-off in Menlo Park, CA

Prime'd for success

The Tueo Health team was proud to win $50,000 in the primeUC competition hosted at UCSF!

Co-founder Frank Wang received all of his many degrees from the UC system and we're happy to be part of the dynamic community of innovators with similar ties. William Kethman made the winning pitch and received the award.

Tueo Health co-founder William Kethman receiving the primeUC runner-up award from UC President Janet Napolitano

Tueo Health co-founder William Kethman receiving the primeUC runner-up award from UC President Janet Napolitano