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Tallaght Hospital to trial wearable device for patients with severe asthma

 Patrick Mitchell smiling into camera with his arms folded


Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) is to begin testing wearable devices which can be integrated into a digital platform for patients with severe asthma. With funding of €75,000 from the Public Service Innovation Fund, the new venture has been led by TUH Respiratory Consultant Professor Patrick Mitchell who is also an Associate Professor at Trinity College Dublin. He explains that “initially 50 patients attending TUH with a diagnosis of moderate to severe asthma will use a wearable device and a home spirometer (measuring lung function). This will allow patients to measure and record their sleep patterns, pulse rate, activity levels, and lung-function on a weekly and/or symptom-prompted basis. The wearable device will link to a digital platform so results can be recorded. Those using the device will also be able to record patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) over a 6-month period.”

The new wearable device will then harvest this information to provide the medical team with a retrospective and objective dataset of results to detail how the patient with asthma was doing over the preceding months. This will facilitate the detection of significant changes in their condition, which in the future will allow for early intervention and treatment, if needed. 

Dr Natalie Cole, Head of Innovation at Tallaght University Hospital, explained that “this project promotes a novel approach that combines a digital interactive wearable, home lung-function test, and integrative e-platforms for patients with severe asthma to enhance their overall management and self-care. Over the last decade, new devices and fitness technology have uncovered a store of useful information that, when applied correctly, have the potential to revolutionise the way we approach healthcare and chronic conditions like asthma. We are very grateful for the support provided to this project by the Tallaght University Hospital Foundation.”

Welcoming the new development, TUH CEO Lucy Nugent outlined how it was a “further example of how TUH is embracing technology to further improve patient care so that we can continue in our mission to become a hospital without walls. The testing of wearable devices also aligns with the stated aim of the National Clinical Programme for Respiratory Care which recommends that adults with asthma will benefit from being part of a well-managed integrated system of care.”

Asthma is the most common chronic respiratory disease in Ireland, with approximately 1 in 10 of the population asthmatic.

The project has received backing from the Public Service Innovation Fund which is run by the Department of Public Expenditure NDP Delivery and Reform.