There is no cure for Asthma. With 25 million Americans diagnosed, and 1.8 million emergency department visits due to poor control, clinicians and Insurance companies have long tried to optimize treatment. While there are objective measures measured in the doctor’s office such as measuring the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and peak expiratory flow rate, there is a large subjective measure used to optimize treatment.

Anthem, in partnership with University of California Irvine (who are running the study) and CareEvolution (who built the app), announced a study to examine how self-monitoring devices such as the Apple Watch and iPhone can help patients better self-manage their chronic disease

This will be a two-year randomized controlled trial (RCT) where participants receive a BedditTM Sleep Monitor and an Apple Watch. There’s two parts to this study. The first is a digital daily symptom and trigger tracking survey and the second is collection of vitals including the new blood oxygen measurement now available with the newest Apple watch. The daily survey is an experiment in of itself to see if active tracking improves outcomes. If successful, we can expect some sort of incentive from Anthem for patients to continue using the tool. The data collection will feed into a machine learning algorithm to see if emergency room visits can be predicted in advance. 

This is another good example of how health insurance companies are trying to be in the cutting edge of innovation when it comes to chronic disease management. While diabetes has seen the highest amount of private market startups creating disease management programs, there are many chronic diseases that also have a high return on innovation including CHF, COPD, CKD, Asthma among others. This is also an example of how Apple is continuing to innovate spurring new studies with its new blood oxygen measurement tool including one by the University of Washington that wants to use the data to predict the flu and Covid-19 diagnosis in advance--link