An Apple HealthKit-compliant iOS app designed to help patients monitor and manage the symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease will be commercially available in the second half of 2015.

Developed by LifeMap Solutions in partnership with researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and experts from the Mount Sinai–National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute, the COPD Navigator iPhone app will be implemented as part of a pilot program. Physicians at the institute will work with patients to improve self-management of COPD.

By leveraging Apple’s HealthKit technology, COPD Navigator accepts inhaler usage information from any HealthKit-compliant, Bluetooth-enabled, “smart” inhaler device. In the pilot program at Mount Sinai, LifeMap is providing a smart device of its own design, allowing the app to automatically know when a patient has used their inhaler to help track medication adherence and identify potential environmental and behavioral triggers.

Also See: Apple Launches Software Framework, Apps to Aid Medical Research

Among the patient data the app In addition, the app helps patients avoid environmental risk factors by providing real-time alerts about local air quality and extreme weather, as well as delivering educational content.

LifeMap, in partnership with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, also developed an Asthma Health app—announced last month—that leverages Apple’s ResearchKit, a new platform for researchers to host mobile apps. The app, one of the first to be built on the ResearchKit open source software framework, is designed to facilitate asthma patient education and self-monitoring, promote positive behavioral changes and reinforce adherence to treatment plans based on current asthma guidelines.

Corey Bridges, CEO of LifeMap, said that Apple approached a small number of institutions including Mount Sinai regarding ResearchKit. As part of an ongoing six-month study, the Asthma Health app will track symptom patterns in individuals and potential triggers for these exacerbations so that researchers can learn new ways to personalize asthma treatment. 

Bridges argues that this kind of mobile technology has effectively “unshackled scientific research from bricks and mortar constraints.” He said that the Mount Sinai asthma study will gather “some interesting longitudinal data” and that ResearchKit enables “rigorous scientific research to be done on populations that are potentially orders of magnitude larger than anything we’ve ever seen before.” And, Bridges added, such studies will not be limited by geographic location.

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