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| February 8, 2019

Kaia Health enacts feasibility study for COPD app to be introduced in Japan

Anca Spanu

Anca's career in journalism spans over 2 decades. She has served as staff writer, editor and deputy chief editor at... Anca's career in journalism spans over 2 decades. She has served as staff writer, editor and deputy chief editor at various media outlets all over the world. At Healthcare Weekly, Anca writes about current events, innovations in the healthcare space and events/ conferences with a focus on investing & startups.

After a German pilot study successfully decreased symptoms, Kaia Health this week (February 7th) unveiled a feasibility study to examine the impact of its digital therapeutic treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in Japan’s ageing population.

What is COPD and how many people does it affect?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a generic term encompassing a variety of chronic lung diseases that limit lung airflow. Patients suffering from COPD are usually out of air, have a chronic cough and excessive sputum production.

COPD is not only a “smoker’s cough”, but an under-diagnosed, life threatening lung disease, which can cause death.

According to the World Health Organisation, 64 million people are diagnosed with COPD and it will be the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.

COPD app, now only available in German

This is why Kaia Health concentrated on creating an app which helps COPD patients keep the illness in check and reduce the speed of its progression.

Last December, Kaia Health launched an app, available only in German, with the prospect of being translated into English and other languages. Kaia COPD combines physiotherapy, psychology and patient education techniques to help patients with their pulmonary rehabilitation and provide relief from COPD symptoms.

According to its creators, the app provides video-based AI therapy, psychosocial support, patient education and helps track  medication. Since up to 60 percent of COPD patients do not take their medication as instructed, thus deepening the severity of the illness and creating various complications, verifying whether patients took their medication will be very useful.

The Kaia COPD app can be downloaded via the Apple App Store or Google Play. For a certain  period of time, patients can download the app and participate in a free usability test for their COPD when filling out a symptoms questionnaire at the beginning of the therapy.

Here’s a short video showing how Kaia works.

[Podcast] Fireside chat with Jeff Arnold, WebMD & Sharecare Founder on Covid-19 & The Future of Medicine

Japan could be the next market for the Kaia COPD app

COPD represents a major health problem in Japan and causes a significant socioeconomic burden. COPD creates a serious decrease in the patient’s quality of life (QoL) and patients suffering from it need significant healthcare resources. The prevalence of COPD in Japan makes it a very serious health issue, since the numbers are up to 8.6% in patients aged ≥40 years and up to 10.3 percent in patients over 60 years. If the present feasibility study proves successful, Kaia Health COPD app could be manufactured for the Japanese market.

The patients are encouraged to perform a video-based physiotherapy consisting of exercises designed to help build muscle and promote a healthy cardiovascular system. The app adapts itself to users, using a training algorithm to adjust to each patient’s disease profile and feedback.

Audio-based relaxation exercises are provided to manage anxiety and depression, but also to  cope with dyspnea attacks. A coach who can answer app-specific questions and work with patients on their specific goals could also be contacted via the app.

Breathing and coughing techniques, nutrition and advice on the impact air pollution has on their condition are some of the things the app teaches patients. Alerts are provided to keep track of medication, and video instructions help patients to perfect inhalation.

Previous studies proved to be effective

In November 2018, a peer-reviewed clinical study, published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, demonstrated that Kaia Health’s COPD app successfully reduced symptoms.

After only 20 days of therapy, the Kaia COPD app proved to significantly aid not only patients’ improvement of their Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) scores, but also areas such as emotion, mastery and fatigue.

Konstantin Mehl, Founder & CEO of Kaia Health believes in the product’s future prospects on the japanese market: “Conventional COPD treatment is expensive and resource-intense, particularly in developed countries such as Japan which has a huge ageing populations and rapidly increasing healthcare costs. Our AI-powered COPD treatment is effective, widely accessible and can be used at home. This empowers patients to take control and self-manage their COPD with evidenced-based, non-pharmacological, affordable alternatives which means more people globally can benefit from it. Our mission is to reduce the socioeconomic burden of COPD in Japan and the impact it may have on the working-age population which, ultimately, could inform healthcare policies worldwide.”

About Kaia Health

Founded in 2016, Kaia Health is a leading digital therapeutics company that creates evidence-based treatments for a range of disorders including back pain and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Kaia Health works with experts in each medical field and uses innovative technology, including artificial intelligence and apps, to help heal the body by using the healing powers of one’s mind. This allows individuals to take control of their life and better manage their condition with digital, non-pharmacological alternatives, and with fewer costs.  

The company is rapidly expanding globally with innovative digital therapies for chronic conditions. Kaia Health is a member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, an association of international manufacturers for digital therapeutic products that meet excellence in high quality standards.  

The company recently raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Balderton Capital to tackle some of the world’s most urgent health challenges, including a range of chronic conditions.

In 2018, Kaia Health launched the world’s first AI-enabled fitness app which turns a smartphone into a personal trainer, as well as a rehabilitation therapy app which significantly reduces lower back pain.


Kaia Health Raises $10m Series A Funding To Scale Up Back Pain Therapy App

More Kaia news on HealthcareWeekly: 

1/26 2019: Kaia Health Raises $10m Series A Funding To Scale Up Back Pain Therapy App

12/22 2019: Kaia Health new AI app lets COPD patients better manage condition from home


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