Software can breathe new life into medical devices

County Clare based company Vitalograph specialises in cardio-respiratory technology, and provides equipment and clinical trials services to global pharmaceutical industries.

The 50 year old company has developed new respiratory devices and software to support patients who are living with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

One of the major problems is that patients are not using inhalers correctly, explains Keane, and Vitalograph has developed and manufactures simulator devices to provide training for patients to learn the appropriate breathing techniques that deliver medication to their airways.

The company has also licensed technology from Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to monitor how a patient is using his or her inhaler over time. The device, which is currently undergoing regulatory assessment, clips onto the inhaler and tracks several parameters. Software then analyses the data so the patient and the doctor, nurse or pharmacist can see whether the inhaler is being used appropriately.

“The data can be viewed over the web to see if the person is using the inhaler at the right times and with the right technique,” says Keane.

Other Vitalograph products help patients to monitor their lung function at home – and in some cases the information is sent to servers so clinical specialists can keep an eye on their progress or flag brewing problems.

The company’s software-linked devices fall under the banner of connected health, and the approach makes sense, according to Keane, but in general he sees the need for greater clinical engagement and innovation in the area.

“The technology exists, nothing new really needs to be invented for connected health – now it’s about deployment,” he says. “What needs to change is the care package, how you treat people.”


Read more: Silicon Republic

About Toni Bunting

Toni joined Ireland’s longest established telecare company, TASK Community Care in 2009, and is responsible for operations and business development in its Northern Ireland division. Having originally planned for a career in the legal profession, she gained her Bachelor of Laws degree in 2004, and subsequently completed the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law of England and Wales. Toni also holds a Master’s Degree in Management & Corporate Governance and has carried out various legal research/publications work for the Law Centre (NI) on a voluntary basis, with a focus on Community Care Law.
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