patientMpower brings COVID-19 home-monitoring solutions to Cystic Fibrosis patients

  • University Hospital Galway among first to pilot new technology
  • App allows home monitoring of lung function, reducing infection risk among CF patients

patientMpower, an Irish healthtech company based in The Digital Hub, today announced the release of a new technology solution that enables home monitoring of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), providing a treatment option that can reduce risks during the Covid-19 crisis.

The patientMpower for CF app allows people to measure vital signs relevant for their CF at home – including clinical grade measurement of their lung function and oxygen levels, along with recording of body weight and sputum volume. Patients’ information is immediately available for healthcare staff to view via a secure portal in the hospital.

Whilst the COVID-19 crisis has been a frightening time for everybody, it has been particularly difficult for people living with CF. People with CF are one of the high-risk groups that are currently advised to cocoon and stay at home during the crisis and are extremely vulnerable to lung infections even during normal times. This has presented a challenge for doctors: how to provide the normal, routine hospital check-ups that people with CF need, or provide treatment should a flare up occur, while minimising the risk of exposure to COVID-19?

University Hospital Galway is currently trialling the technology with 37 adult patients and patientMpower is in active discussions with several Irish hospitals who are interested in the product’s application. With an estimated 1,300 CF patients in Ireland, the highest rate of CF per capita in the world, and over 70,000 globally the potential market for the product is huge.

patientMpower is one of several companies in The Digital Hub which are playing a role in the State’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. patientMpower is already providing a home monitoring system for the HSE that has enabled the early discharge of over 1,000 COVID-19 patients to date, freeing up vital hospital resources.

The Digital Hub actively supports companies who develop digital solutions to healthcare problems. With a renewed focus on “Connected Health”, today 10 per cent of The Digital Hub’s client companies are in the eHealth area.

Dr Michael O’Mahony, Respiratory Consultant and specialist in Cystic Fibrosis at University Hospital Galway commented:

“Bringing patients into the hospital for routine check-ups places them at increased risk of exposure to the virus, and delaying these check-ups simply isn’t an option. 

Prior to the crisis we were setting up a video conferencing system that allowed our CF care team to interact with patients like a normal hospital consultation. The missing piece though was how to get information on patients’ lung function and other vital signs – this is a crucial part of the check-up. We have now been piloting the patientMpower for CF home monitoring technology for the last few weeks and it has been very successful. Because patients’ home measurements are available for us to review in the hospital immediately it has enabled us to monitor their lung function and other vital signs as part of the video consultation. It means our team can continue to provide CF patients with the high-quality care they need whilst protecting them from exposure to the virus.”

Dr Colin Edwards, Chief Scientific Officer with patientMpower, added:

“From our work with respiratory specialists, we knew there was an urgent need for a new way of providing care for people with CF because of the current crisis. Our solution will enable home monitoring for the multiple aspects of cystic fibrosis, not only lung function but also oxygen saturation, body weight, medication use and much more. The technology is currently available to CF centres in Ireland and internationally.”

Fiach Mac Conghail, Chief Executive of the Digital Hub said:

“The Digital Hub has made Connected Health a key area of focus, and patientMPower is an excellent example of a company developing exciting innovations in this area. Over 10% of companies at the Hub now work in the eHealth sector. We believe that the ecosystem we have created in Dublin 8 will stimulate companies led by Irish entrepreneurs that will make discoveries transforming healthcare delivery.”

patientMpower was founded in 2015 and provides technology solutions for people living with long term illnesses. The company is passionate about empowering better outcomes by enabling patients to better manage their care and providing unique data insights for healthcare providers and researchers to improve treatments. Current products on the market include:

  • COVID-19 remote home monitoring programme, now in clinical use with over 20 centres in Ireland, with deployments in several major US hospitals.
  • Home monitoring for lung conditions, including those who have undergone a lung transplant, in use across a number of leading centres in the US, UK and Ireland.

Last year patientMpower was part of a consortium that was awarded €2.1m in funding from the Irish Government’s Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund (DTIF) for research into a combining artificial intelligence and wearables technology to improvement monitoring of patients on kidney dialysis.

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