11 April, 2014, Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlives), Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: Aseptika Ltd announces the award of an Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare) development contract funded by NHS England to develop a “third-generation” wearable monitor, which will warn of impending respiratory failure in people that suffer from lung disease.
The World Health Organisation predicts that lung disease will be the World’s fourth biggest killer by 2030. Currently in the UK, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD – previously known as emphysema) has a large impact on healthcare provision and society, with 1 out of 10 of us suffering from this disease, causing 24 million working days to be lost, at a cost of nearly £4 billion per year from reduced productivity. The human cost is very high. There are 23,000 deaths due to COPD each year – which equates to one death every 20 minutes (NHS information).
The increase in diseases such as COPD places further strain on limited healthcare budgets, with much of the cost associated with COPD incurred through hospital care because of unplanned admissions via Accident and Emergency. Around half of all sufferers are unaware that they have COPD, the cause of which is strongly linked to smoking or to environmental pollution. Symptoms often start as early as the mid 40’s, although the advanced stages of the disease are more often associated with the elderly.
Patients with other lung conditions such as: Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis (NCFB) will also benefit from the future product that will forewarn of a collapse in respiratory function as part of a self-management plan developed in collaboration with the patient’s healthcare team and supported by self-monitoring.
Kevin Auton Ph.D, Managing Director and Founder of Aseptika explained: “Many of us develop long-term respiratory conditions as a result of infections, our genetics, and the environment we are exposed to or as a result of our lifestyle choices. Whatever the cause, respiratory disease causes breathlessness and predisposes us to repeated lung infections, which damage the tissues of our lungs, leading to more infections in an ever downward spiral over time.
While these diseases are complex, there are patterns and changes that can be seen in the lead-up to the next infection (called an exacerbation) and if we adopt new behaviours, we can slow the rate at which the disease progresses. By undertaking a few quick measurements each day using simple devices, the pattern of these complex changes can be “learned” by the patient and in the future, by our software which will provide alerts to the patient. With the right training, support and encouragement from their health carers, anyone can learn how to use this information to become an “expert patient” and can become skilled at managing their long-term disease(s). This will mean fewer infections, fewer stays in hospital and an improved quality of life. It will also lead to lowered costs for the healthcare providers.”
Using a growing range of monitors that connect to Activ8rlives, and the Company’s online health tracking system, individuals can record health parameters and upload the information directly via computers, Smartphones and Tablets. By seeing this information and trends in a visual way, connections about what makes us well and keeps us healthy can be seen, discovered and most importantly, repeated.
For example, people who are becoming unwell move less, so wearing an activity tracker can measure this decline in physical activity over a period of 7-10 days. Those with impending lung infections may lose their appetite and so their weight decreases, often dropping 1-2 Kg in a week and so daily weight measurements using the Company’s web-connecting smart scales can track this trend. When a chest infection begins, lung function decreases and this can be detected using a simple electronic meter (Peak Flow meter) at home. Similarly, the level of oxygen in the blood can decrease while pulse rate, blood pressure and temperature can increase. These physiological parameters can be measured, uploaded, tracked and recorded online with the technology developed by Aseptika in its Activ8rlives system.
The data recorded by the patient at home each day, will in the near future, be combined with information generated by a new home-use sputum test that the Company is developing. This measures the level of activity of one of the common bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA), which can become resident in the lungs of a proportion of the patients with COPD, CF and non-CF Bronchiectasis and those with severe Asthma. Performing this test at home each day will provide advanced warning of an impending exacerbation by PA. Subsequently the patient can seek medical help sooner and thereby avoid a 6-8 day stay in hospital, by being treated at home. These same measurements can also be used to reassure the patient and their carers that treatment in their “hospital at home” is being effective. This strategy has the benefit of placing the patient and their carers firmly at the centre of the treatment process, with their data being collected by them and belonging to them.
The new technology being developed by the Company through this NHS England SBRI contract will move patient-centred self-management through self-monitoring, using the Company’s Always Connected infrastructure to a new level and will result in the production of a new generation of connected medical monitors that look like the latest consumer products.
This work was commissioned and funded by NHS England. The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily that of the funding partners.
- Ends -
Caption: Innovative healthcare trusts are developing partnerships with patients in which the patient, their family and healthcare team agree a self-management plan for use at home. Successful trials have shown 85% reduction in hospital admissions but the next step is to support the self-care plans by providing simple self-monitoring tools for home use, that are web-connected.
About Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlives)
Our strategy is to develop expert information systems which can be used by laypeople and shared with their healthcare service providers, to better self-manage long-term conditions through self-monitoring. Activ8rlives integrates simple monitoring devices that capture an individual’s various health parameters. This information is brought together in the Company’s servers so that it can be viewed to warn of impending ill health and to support them in maintaining wellbeing. This also means that this information is available anywhere and at any time. A natural extension is development of a home-based test predicting flare-ups in chest infections in those who have long-term respiratory conditions, to reduce hospital admissions and improve healthcare.
The Company offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to smart scales, smartphone Food Diary App to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self-monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by laypeople, family, carers or healthcare workers to improve wellbeing and maintain health.
Users can track: physical activity, body composition and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.
For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com
Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.
Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare)
The Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare) is an NHS England initiative, championed by the newly formed Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), who aim to promote UK economic growth whilst addressing unmet health needs and enhancing the take up of known best practice.
Part of Innovation Health and Wealth the SBRI Healthcare programme sets industry the challenge in a series of health related competitions which result in fully funded development contracts between the awarded company and the NHS. Unlike many R&D projects which offer grant or match funding, SBRI contracts are 100 per cent funded and the company retains the IP.
For press information, please contact:
Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)
Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821
Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122