Interview with Dr. Stefan Gebauer, Bosch Healthcare Solutions GmbH
Allergic asthma is a chronic disease that makes regular monitoring essential to keep it under control. This is the only way to determine whether the prescribed medication is effective or whether the patient needs a treatment adjustment. Vivatmo me is a breath analyzer device for home use and helps keep asthma patients safe and confident between visits to the doctor.
Dr. Stefan Gebauer
In this MEDICA-tradefair.com interview, Dr. Stefan Gebauer talks about the app-supported Vivatmo me device, and explains how regular self-measurements benefit asthma patients.
Dr. Gebauer, which patients do the Vivatmo me system and the Vivatmo app from Bosch Healthcare Solutions GmbH help?
Dr. Stefan Gebauer: The device was developed to support adults and children aged 7 and older who suffer from poorly controlled allergic asthma or severe asthma. This affects a significant number of asthma sufferers. Vivatmo me can help the physician to better manage the condition with the right medication and allows the patient to gain back control and confidence.
We also offer the Vivatmo pro device, which was specially designed for professional use by physicians.
How does the device work?
Gebauer: Vivatmo me is a breath analyzer. Users simply exhale into the hand-held device as steadily as possible for just a few seconds. The exhaled breath is analyzed with the device measuring the so-called FeNO value, a measurement of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (NO). This is a marker that indicates the degree of airway inflammation due to an allergic reaction.
The device includes a mouthpiece that must be replaced after each use. The mouthpiece processes and prepares the exhaled breath, which is required to perform the sensitive measurement. It also contains a bacteria and virus filter.
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Vivatmo me enables patients to monitor their asthma at home. The device thus helps to keep them safe and confident between visits to their physician.
What functions does the app have that can be used together with the device?
Gebauer: Users can use the app to pair the Vivatmo me device with their smartphone. The app is a digital asthma diary where users can enter information pertaining to how they feel, track medication intake, list additional data – measured peak flow rates, for example – or stats on asthma attacks. It allows the user to better navigate his disease and detect correlations – and spot allergy triggers that can cause an inflammatory response.
The app also has a current pollen forecast to help users plan outside activities. Finally, the app can generate a PDF report that can be shared with the physician. Based on the results, users can work closely with their physician to adjust their asthma medications.
Can patients use Vivatmo me to support self-management and adjust treatment?
Gebauer: Vivatmo me helps patients monitor the course of their asthma and its effects on their body. For example, a patient who was newly prescribed inhalable corticosteroids does not yet know how this medication affects his lungs. The Vivatmo me device helps asthma sufferers feel more confident and in control. Most patients can feel if their lungs are affected by allergic asthma. The measured value gives them an indication of the allergic inflammatory condition of their lung.
Having said that, patients must always consult their physician for any clinical assessment of FeNO values or medication adjustments.
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How does self-measurement for asthma usingVivatmomecompare with other control methods?
Gebauer: The device does not replace a visit with your doctor. Patients are strongly encouraged to get regular medical checkups. The measurements of FeNO values by the physician are often used as a more general assessment of the course of asthma activity or to make an initial diagnosis. The idea behind the FeNO home measurement is to allow closer monitoring and tracking of the disease progression and improve the quality of life of the asthma patient.
Many asthma patients also use peak flow meters at home. These devices measure how well air moves out of the lungs and give patients an indication of the current state of their asthma. Observational studies have shown that FeNO levels often increase before patients experience actual symptoms of an attack or exacerbation, a flare-up and progression of the condition.
In view of this, there is no directly comparable at-home method. Having said that, FeNO levels tend to provide a prognostic value of bronchial provocation, making them suited for asthma management and prevention.
Has the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the use of this device as a telemedicine solution?
Gebauer: The pandemic has prompted many people to postpone or even cancel doctor appointments to minimize the risk of exposure and spread of the disease. During these unprecedented times, patients who already use the Vivatmo me device to measure airway inflammation at home might feel more confident and in control of their asthma while they virtually consult with their physician.
While we are not quite at that stage yet, we fully expect that Vivatmo me has a strong future in remote patient monitoring. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has expedited awareness of telemedicine technology as it pertains to chronic diseases of the respiratory system.
The interview was conducted by Timo Roth and translated from German by Elena O'Meara. MEDICA-tradefair.com