The IPF Catalyst Challenge is being held in Chicago, Illinois today as nine finalists make their final pitch in a competition for $1 million in funding for innovative, meaningful solutions to improve the quality of life for people living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Among the finalists is patientMpower, a digital healthcare company developing technology solutions for patients across a range of different areas, including IPF.
With the objective “Empowering IPF patients to better manage their treatment,” patientMpower created a mobile platform that enables IPF patients to track their disease using integrated monitors, allowing them to better manage their treatment through new insights and connections with peers and caregivers.
“Since we started working in IPF in 2016 we have received fantastic support from IPF patients and healthcare professionals. It is their feedback and advice that has helped build our current IPF solution,” Eamonn Costello, CEO of patientMpower, said in a press release.
The patientMpower team found a recurring topic when interacting with IPF patients — a desire to “adapt to the new normal” and feel in control of their condition. The team also noticed there is a lack of qualitative and quantitative data on IPF patient health in between their routine visits to the doctor, which limits research and solutions for an improved quality of life.
Lack of visibility of their disease progression was identified as impeding patients from best managing their own illness, with and without their healthcare team. So, the company designed a solution: a no-cost mobile platform that tracked data related to the patient’s condition using integrated monitors.
The integrated monitors include spirometry (a pulmonary function test that measures the rate of air flow in and out of the lungs and a person’s estimated lung size), and pulse oximetry (a noninvasive procedure to monitor the amount of oxygen in a patient’s bloodstream), as well as other important features.
“We continue to engage with our users and those involved in IPF to constantly evolve our platform” said Costello. “This is why we are very excited to be finalists in the IPF Catalyst Challenge. The funding available will help us achieve our aim of helping tens of thousands of people with IPF through creation of the next generation of our mobile platform, patientMpower 2.0.”
The mobile platform potentially could be used to develop caregiver and mentor apps, improve messaging capability between patients and healthcare teams, offer location services to nearby support groups, tips to prepare for weather extremes, and enhanced educational content to increase knowledge and engagement.
patientMpower researchers also are looking into ways of using this digital biobank to offer patients the option for rapid inclusion in clinical trials and to develop deep learning analytics in IPF. These could provide critical insights to improve understanding of IPF and to transform research and care.
“We have identified that information collected from the patientMpower platform in our digital biobank is a unique resource of real-life patient data” said Colin Edwards, chief scientific officer at patientMpower. “With appropriate funding we can develop analytic capabilities which have the potential to provide new insights for patients, researchers and healthcare providers in IPF”.
To read about all the finalists’s projects, and to get updates about today’s competition, visit the IPF Catalyst Challenge.