The patient will use an app to scan a QR code at the top of the inhaler, which will sync the inhaler to the app. The ProAir Digihaler can actually determine how well the patient uses it, as the sensor measures a breath actuation and sees how well a patient inhales, giving them a rating.
Suppose a patient that has been using their inhaler incorrectly for some time tells a pharmacist that the app reports they are a 'bad' inhaler? This might be a good opportunity to use objective data to help that patient.
Another issue could be access to this data. The patient can track adherence via the app, and share it with others. The question becomes then, who should it be shared with? The provider? A nurse? Or a pharmacist?
The issue of data implies a responsibility for monitoring, so who will be paid for this work? What will the legal repercussions be for liability of monitoring?
Training and an understanding of this new realm will be needed. This is an area that pharmacists will have to own and become acquainted with, and soon.
Timothy Aungst, PharmD
Timothy Dy Aungst, PharmD, is an associate professor of pharmacy practice at MCPHS University. He graduated from Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy and completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at St. Luke's University Hospital, and then a Clinical Geriatric Fellowship at MCPHS University. He is passionate about the rise of technology in health care and its application to pharmacy. He has published primarily on the role of mobile technology and mHealth, and made multiple national and international presentations on those topics. He blogs at TheDigitalApothecary.com, is a Co-Host of FurtureDose.tech a podcast part of the Pharmacy Podcast Network, and you can find him on Twitter @TDAungst.