Chronic respiratory illnesses are on the rise globally. For patients suffering from breathing problems, regular monitoring of their lung function is essential.
The spirometer, a tube through which patients blow to get an assessment of the health of their lungs, is a go-to device for such monitoring.
Worsening air quality in fast-growing cities, unhealthy lifestyles and an increase in allergen-derived conditions like asthma are some of the underlying causes of chronic respiratory illnesses. Italy-based Medical International Research (MIR) has been producing spirometers for a quarter of a century and has built up a sales presence in 100+ countries.
One of its flagship products is the Spirobank Smart, which gives readings on six parameters and is designed for use by medical professionals. The device has a user-friendly software kit that lets app developers choose the interface they want to display the results on, with tablets and mobile phones being increasingly favored. Roberta Di Pinto, International Sales Director at MIR, said the company has consistently striven to integrate the newest advances in digital technology.
“When we launched Spirotel in 1995, we were thinking about telemedicine. The device transmitted readings using a landline telephone and basic modem, or to a personal computer with a USB connection,” she explained in an interview with MedicalExpo e-magazine. She added:
Now the market is trending toward more integration with connected devices. Mobile phones are becoming the go-to receiving station for different datasets—everything from spirometers to ultrasounds to X-rays.
A Complement, not a Supplant
With an eye to this trend, MIR has developed the Smart One, a spirometer that patients can use at home. Having recently secured approval from the U.S. regulatory authorities, MIR plans to start selling the device on Amazon this Christmas. Smart One measures two parameters compared to Spirobank Smart’s six, has a diary to track symptoms and a function to let patients send results by email to their attending physician.
While MIR expects to see fast growth in Spirobank One sales, Di Pinto believes that it will complement, not supplant, the more professional-oriented Spirobank Smart.
Spirometry requires a specific manoeuver—blowing out at maximum speed for six seconds. This is a bit uncomfortable because you expend 80 percent of your lung capacity in the first second, so for the other five seconds you are really squeezing your lungs, which is not easy to do especially if you have a pathology.
Thus, many patients will likely wish to continue to do spirometry in a supervised environment. “But Smart One is certainly the direction where we see market headed,” she said.