Finland:
leading the way
in Asthma care

 

Last October the WHO’s director general Dr Tedros Adhanom declared air pollution “a silent public health emergency. “The world has turned the corner on tobacco,” he said. “Now it must do the same for the ‘new tobacco’ – the toxic air that billions breathe every day.” For anyone who thinks that sounds like hyperbole, it’s absolutely not. Air pollution is increasingly being seen as a factor not only in respiratory diseases but, according to a group of scientists from the Forum of International Respiratory Societies, potentially almost every organ in the body.

Air pollution is an international crisis that demands international action. For those with conditions directly affected by air pollution this ‘emergency’ is a call to action of a much more personal kind. Asthma alone kills 15,000 Europeans every year. Half a million end up in hospital. There are around 30 million asthma sufferers living in the EU of whom 2 million whose condition is severe. It’s estimated that asthma costs the EU economy €79Bn (US$89Bn) every year.

In the light of this what better place for HIMSS to meet this year than Helsinki? Through the Finnish National Asthma Programme​ this country pioneered both research into and the treatment of asthma. When the ten-year programme started in 1994 one-in-five asthma patients in Finland had severe or uncontrolled symptoms, by 2001 it was around 10%, by 2016 2.5%.

Between 2000 and 2013 the number of asthma-related emergency room visits plummeted – by a remarkable 46%. The bigger obstacle to better and more widespread asthma care is adherence. This relies heavily on patients being able to track their lung health accurately and to take the appropriate doses of the right medication. So the conundrum KAMU Health set out to solve is that tendency towards poor adherence to asthma care plans. KAMU Asthma​TM​ is the result.

Just as home management devices for conditions like hypertension and  diabetes allow patients to play a more effective and pro-active role in managing those conditions, so too does KAMU Health aims to help asthma sufferers.

There are five primary reasons self-care fails with asthma sufferers:

• It’s hard to track lung condition and know when to act without constantly visiting the doctor.

• Patients neglect long term care and instead come to rely on medicines offering immediate relief to severe symptoms.

• Some patients fear possible side-effects and underuse medication, though they are, in practice, rare.

• It’s hard to ensure that the daily medication dose is optimal and taken correctly.

• External events can trigger sudden changes in the condition.

Studies have consistently shown that patients who actively monitor their own conditions have better outcomes than those who don’t.

KAMU’s easy-to-use service that runs on a smartphone.

• Helps to track and manage lung condition with a personal mobile spirometer that provides clinical accuracy at home.

• Reports with well-visualized data make it easy to share information. It promotes communication with healthcare professionals and also with friends or family members.

• Accounts for a wide range of external factors and triggers that can affect patients’ symptoms.

• The service reminds users to test themselves and follow their personal treatment plan.

In the shorter term KAMU’s approach will allow patients to do more to manage their condition and will send them to their healthcare professionals armed with hard data from which better care plans can be devised. In the longer term the bringing together of a global community of asthma patients through a service will offer a unique cohort for researchers and a font of data that can be used to predict trigger events and to enable pro-active asthma self-care.

So welcome to Helsinki, the epicentre of a new paradigm for the self-care of lung health.

Let’s meet at HIMSS 2.0. Find KAMU at 6h59 and test your lung function.

***

The blog post was written by Seppo Salorinne Founder and Chief Product Officer, KAMU Health Ltd. Seppo Salorinne has worked in senior product management roles with some of Finland’s most respected and innovative technology companies.

 

KAMU Health Ltd develops and markets digital therapeutics for respiratory-illness care. Through technology, KAMU provides users and their healthcare providers with better data to support treatment while empowering users to take a proactive role in managing their conditions. All KAMU’s services are founded on the latest evidence-based medicine and comply with local medical regulations ​in the US and Europe.  KAMU Health Ltd is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland.

www.kamuhealth.com