Medical Smartwatch for COPD Patients

Building on its growing respiratory disease self-management focus, Aseptika Limited announced that is has accelerated the development of its medical wearable Smartwatch, called the BuddyWOTCH. This will meet the vital requirement to continuously monitor blood oxygenation levels in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients in the home setting. The BuddyWOTCH also integrates other sensors to measure key vital signs and will automatically send data from the wearer to the Company’s secure Cloud-based servers via cellular and wireless networks. The BuddyWOTCH will be CE-marked as a Class 2 medical device for Home Use.

The BuddyWOTCH solution will comprise a 24/7 simple to use wrist-worn device, providing continuous monitoring and alerting capabilities. The WOTCH component incorporates medical sensors for capturing: Walking, Oxygenation, Temperature, Chronicle (image capture of medication, food and liquids) and Heartrate. These biometrics will be transmitted without user operation, as part of the Company’s Always Connected strategy to de-skill and simplify self-monitoring for people of all ages and capabilities.

Respiratory disease is complex. Patients with COPD also tend to have co-morbidities — typically 3.7 additional health conditions,1,2 especially those who are less physically active.3 The inclusion of pulse oximetry with continuous monitoring of SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation calculated as a percentage) using the wrist-worn BuddyWOTCH has been a significant technical challenge. The Company has now filed two patent applications protecting its inventions.

In COPD, as in other respiratory diseases, exercise improves cardiovascular function, body composition, insulin sensitivity and reduces blood pressure and inflammation.4 Active COPD patients have a higher FEV1 scores5 and a slower decline in lung function6 and so motivation to be more active improves health outcomes — all part of the BuddyWOTCH solution. Weight management is also challenging for COPD patients7 with a higher risk of exacerbations8 and the Company believes that the BuddyWOTCH will become an indispensable tool in promoting increased physical activity and achieving a healthier weight and more effective pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

Embedding motivation for behavior change in daily life is essential9 for self-management and tools to assist are much in demand as can be evidenced in the rise of activity trackers, which is now a $2 billion market .10 Motivation of adherence to physiotherapy, medication, physical activity, healthy eating, and monitoring vital signs are important in maintaining respiratory health for those with COPD. Early diagnosis and intervention are a critical priority for healthcare providers.

The vital signs generated by the BuddyWOTCH will also be combined with data from the Company’s patented sputum test, which predicts the onset of lung infections (or exacerbations) in people with long-term respiratory conditions who are chronically infected with the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, so that they may obtain medical interventions earlier, thereby reducing the sometimes devastating effects of repeated exacerbations.

The need for the BuddyWOTCH was inspired through the Company’s experience of working with patient volunteers who have respiratory disease in the SENSOR clinical trial being run with the award winning research team at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) and in previous trials working with volunteers who have Cystic Fibrosis. The ability to assess disease progression, reduce the need for a first hospital admission and eliminate readmissions caused by exacerbations or chest infections, is a key aim for the Company and its UK-based employees.

Commenting on the BuddyWOTCH fast-track development project announced today, Kevin A. Auton PhD, co-founder and managing director of Aseptika Limited said:

“Our BuddyWOTCH will become an integrated monitoring and alerting system, wearable for the “rest-of-life” by the most vulnerable patients with respiratory disease. Combining sensors to monitor fundamental vital signs of COPD patients, will enable patients and their carers to learn from their data and to better self-manage this long-term condition. Younger family members are often unpaid carers and this innovation will provide them with confidence 24/7 that their older family members are safe or give the evidence that they require support. Equally important as we age, we all want to remain independent and in our own homes for as long as we are able. We need a new generation of simple tools to help us, our families and the network of our clinical supporters, achieve these goals and reduce the growing pressure on our NHS.”

“Our solutions will provide “expert” pathways for use by both patient/carers and then GP’s and clinicians to inform, manage and report the success of home care plans so that patients can remain independent at home, with a better quality and more sustainable model of care.”

£1 million of funding to accelerate the development of the BuddyWOTCH was recently secured through a Phase 2 pre-procurement contract with NHS England’s Small Business Research Initiative Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare), managed by Health Enterprise East (HEE) on behalf of the Eastern Academic Health and Sciences Network (EAHSN). The Company intends to deliver its first production units to NHS clinical partners and beta test volunteers by the end of 2015.

1. Prediction of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Exacerbation using Physiological Time Series Patterns. Xie Yang et al (2013). 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS (2013) Oaska, Japan, 3-7 July 2013.
2. Healthcare utilisation in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. A case-control study in a health maintenance organisation. Mapel DW et al. (2000). Arch. Inern. Med. 160(17), 2653-2658
3. Impact of changes in physical activity on health-related quality of life among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Esteban C. et al (2006). J. Bras. Pneumol. 32(4), 301-308.
4. Consequences of physical inactivity in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Hartmand, J et al. Expert Rev Resp Med (2010) 4(6): 735-745.
5. Physical activity and public health in older adults: recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. (2007). Nelson ME et al, Circulation. 116(9), 1094-1105.
6. Regular physical activity modifies smoking-related lung function declines and reduces risk of COPD: a population-based cohort study. Garcia-Aymerich J et al. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 175(5), 458-463.
7. COPD as a multicomponent disease: inventory of dyspnoea, underweight, obesity and fat free mass depletion in primary care. Steuten et al (2006). Prim. Care Respir. J. 15(2). 84-91.
8. Nutritional status, dietary energy intake and the risk of exacerbation in patients with Chronic Obstructive pulmonary Disease (COPD). Halin, R. et al (2005). Respiratory Medicine. Vol 100. Issue 3. 561-567.
9. Effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention and a structured exercise intervention in older adults. Opdenacker L et al (2008). Pre. Med. 46(6), 518-524.
10. Pharmafocus, December 2014.