As many as 3 out of 4 asthma sufferers fail to use their inhalers correctly, which contributes to the thousands of avoidable asthma hospital admissions each year. With our expertise and track record in Drug Delivery Device development, we recognised this gap between typical inhaler training and effective use of existing devices and created the novel T-Haler training device to address this prominent issue.
The T-Haler is the latest example of Cambridge Consultants applying its expertise in 'Px' development – the art and science of designing around the patient experience – and demonstrates a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem drawing on expertise in human factors, user interface design, mechanical and electronics engineering, wireless connectivity and drug delivery. The T-Haler measures three key factors for proper inhaler use - shaking the inhaler prior to breathing in, inhalation flow and timing of actuation. Interactive software, linked to a wireless training inhaler, monitors how a patient uses their device and provides real-time feedback via an interactive video ‘game’.
More than 50 healthy participants took part in a recent study conducted by Cambridge Consultants to test the efficacy of T-Haler. Before using the training system, the average success rate of the group in using an inhaler correctly was in the low 20% range – in line with numerous other studies carried out. The participants had no prior experience with asthma or inhalers and were given no human instruction beyond being handed the T-Haler and told to begin. The on-screen interface walked the group through the process, and participants achieved a success rate of more than 60% after only three minutes with the T-Haler device. This is more than twice the compliance rate we have seen in other studies with trained participants. A week later, 55% were still correctly using the device – showing that they retained what they learned.