Smart Inhaler, What It Is, How It Works, Compatibility, Costs

Posted December 14, 2020 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

In this modern era of technology, we all want something that might give us an edge over our ailments. So, we’re focusing this article on the smart inhaler.

We’ll provide a clear guideline on what a smart inhaler is, how it works, cost, effectiveness, and much more. But first, a quick summary, then we’ll get into more details.

What Is A Smart Inhaler? A smart inhaler/sensor is designed to communicate your inhaler usage and asthma management to a mobile application via Bluetooth. It comes as a sensor attachable to most inhaler types or integrated within an inhaler. The compatibility with inhaler types, medications, and devices may vary. 

The smart inhaler concept is a device designed to enhance the daily management of asthma and inhaler usage. Medication for asthma patients is an essential part of their life.

Asthma patients are bound to follow a strict regimen and take several medications every day, depending on their asthma condition, just to keep their symptoms under control.

Smart Inhaler

So, a smart inhaler would seem to be a great step forward for most patients, but let’s discuss this in further detail.

What is a Smart Inhaler?

If you’re wondering if you need an inhaler at all, then you can read more on this in our article, do I need an inhaler.

In a nutshell, a smart inhaler is a sensor-like device specifically designed to communicate with a mobile phone application. Details about your inhaler are sent to your phone and used for effective asthma management.

The communication from the inhaler to a mobile application, and vice versa, helps to keep track of information regarding your inhaler use in real-time.

With the help of a sensor in the inhaler, information is communicated to mobile applications via Bluetooth. This helps in tracking your inhaler use in the app.

This smart technological integration between an inhaler and a mobile application is what warrants the name “Smart Inhaler.”

Depending on the features in your smart inhaler, some smart inhalers can receive and interpret information and suggest your health advice, recommendations, and timely reminders. The data and information stored in the app can also be shared with your doctor.

This can help health professionals get a better overview of when and where your symptoms flare up and things that trigger the need for an inhaler dose, and so on.

This will help your health professional focus on your specific needs and offer you an individually tailored self-management plan for your asthmatic condition. 

More digital features are continuously added to smart inhalers providing more and more effective management of asthma daily.

Smart inhalers are aimed at making asthmatic management a hassle-free process for asthma patients. They are also meant to reduce the potential risks of poor daily asthma management and incorrect treatment.

For more traditional alternatives, check out our article on dry powder inhalers, as well as more information on preventer inhalers.

How Does a Smart Inhaler Work?

Smart inhalers work via Bluetooth. Bluetooth connects the sensor in your inhaler with a mobile application enabling a real-time tracking process.

Since it uses a Bluetooth mode, there’s no need for wires or codes. They can be paired wirelessly, the same way you might with other devices such as headphones or speakers.

They can be connected not only to a phone but also to a tablet or computer, as long as the application is compatible.

The primary function that smart inhalers provide is tracking your inhaler use. This includes:

  • Tracking the number of times you use the inhaler in a day
  • Time of the day the inhaler is used
  • The location of use. 
  • Set reminders/alerts to notify you whenever it’s time to take another dose 
  • Set reminders on a standard daily dose
  • Some can also sense if you forget your inhaler when leaving home
  • Warn you on high pollution or high pollen areas (so you can take precautions)
Smart Inhaler

These features vary from one smart inhaler to the next.

For example, some smart inhalers have specialized sensors to sense high pollen areas, which enables it to then warn you when you’re in – or entering such areas.

Most smart inhalers are external devices that attach to your inhaler.

Do Smart Inhalers Work with all Types of Asthma Inhalers? 

All the smart inhalers developed so far appear to work universally with many types of inhalers and asthma medications.

There are different types of inhalers. Here are the main ones that you can find out more about in our other articles below:

And there are also different asthma medications for different types of asthma and asthmatic severities. Patients are often known to switch between these types of inhalers/medications.

Thankfully, most smart inhalers are compatible with many types of inhalers and asthma medications. These all support the patient with easy switching between different asthma medications.

Smart Inhaler Availability

As the smart inhaler is a fairly recent development, the availability of smart inhalers in your region may be a challenge.

So, before you make a switch to a smart inhaler, make sure you ask your doctor about the availability and compatibility of the available types of smart inhalers in your region, including which ones are compatible with your current asthma treatment.

Smart inhalers are gaining momentum, production is increasing, and more models and types with progressively better features will enter the market over time.

Will Smart Inhalers Work with all Types of Smartphones?

The smart inhaler connects to mobile applications via Bluetooth. So, each smart inhaler manufacturer tends to release an accompanying app with their smart inhalers, which helps keep track of your asthma management. 

However, they may not be available for every type of smartphone.

So far, most of the smart inhalers that are released to the market seem to be compatible with both iPhone and Android.

Again, make sure you clarify these with your healthcare professional or the pharmacist before making a purchase.

Cost of Smart Inhalers 

On average, a smart inhaler costs around $99 retail. This may vary depending on the brand and the features it provides.

Smart Inhaler

However, quite obviously, the more advanced the features are, the higher the price. And the same applies to the price of smart inhalers that have sensors attached to the inhaler itself.

Some smart inhalers are approved for use with specific types of medications and inhalers.

So, make sure you check the manufacturers’ website or ask your pharmacist for more information regarding the compatibility with your type of inhaler, asthma medications, and your mobile device.

Buying meds can be expensive and buying equipment or devices that make managing your condition easier can mean additional expenses.

Buying the right equipment to manage your asthma is vital, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. By enrolling with Prescription Hope, you can potentially get each medication for just $50 per month!

Smart Inhalers that are Approved for use in the US

The two most popular smart inhalers approved for use within the US are as follows:

  • Propeller Smart Inhaler – An external sensor that you can attach to your inhaler. You can check its compatibility with your inhaler/medications using their website.
  • Adherium Hailie Smart Inhaler – This is also an external sensor that you need to attach to your inhaler. This smart inhaler is compatible with inhalers such as Symbicort, ProAir, Ventolin, and Flovent.  

Another smart inhaler, “FindAir,” is not currently available in the US and is only available for purchase in Europe.

This smart inhaler works with more than ten types of metered-dose rescue inhalers. “Teva ProAir” and “3M Intelligent Control” inhaler are two others that are currently under development.

Closing

We hope this has been useful in understanding more about smart inhalers, how they work, and the information they can provide.

As always, this is meant as a guide only, and we always recommend talking to your doctor before taking or changing medication.

If you’re having trouble affording any of your medications, enroll with us and see if you qualify to pay only $50 a month for each of your medications.



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