…and how an app can keep it in check

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be life-threatening. By 2030, it will be the third leading cause of death. Nevertheless, the term COPD is unknown to a large majority of Germans. The key in the fight against COPD is adherence to therapy. Kata®, the app of the Munich-based start-up VisionHealth (https://visionhealth.gmbh), is now intended to help those affected with treatment adherence and efficiency while reducing the costs of chronic lung diseases, which amount to 82.3 billion euros annually in the EU alone.

München / Frankfurt, 23. Mai 2018 – Not getting air is a nightmare – but it is a regular reality for millions of people. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is associated with constricted airways and massively reduces the quality of life of those affected. The vast majority of Germans have never heard of the term COPD – even though according to the BOLD study (Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease), in which the Hanover Medical School participated, 7.9 million people are expected to be affected in 2030. COPD has become one of the most frequent causes of death in industrial countries and deaths are on the rise. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the disease will be the third most frequent cause of death by 2030. COPD is usually caused by smoking.

20 million of the 511 million EU citizens fight COPD, 36 million suffer from asthma. According to the WHO, 600 million people worldwide suffer from chronic respiratory diseases and 3.5 million people die every year as a result. These pneumological diseases cause direct and indirect costs of 82.3 billion euros a year in Europe alone (e.g. through absence from work). These costs are also so high because patients misuse inhalation devices, which often leads to hospitalization.

Digitization opens up new possibilities

“COPD, despite its dangerous nature and prevalence, is still greatly underestimated. Many patients have no idea that they are using their inhalation devices incorrectly because nobody is demonstrating this to them. Digitalization is now bringing a breath of fresh air into medicine and giving patients a new lease of life,” says Dr. Gerhard Scheuch, lead investor of VisionHealth GmbH, which has developed Kata®, an app designed to effectively help patients use the devices. As a business angel, he is involved in various life science and healthcare start-ups and has extensive experience in the treatment of respiratory diseases. Among other things, he founded Activaero, a specialist in respiratory diseases, which set numerous milestones in aerosol research and which he sold to a British medical technology group for 130 million euros in 2014. “The app offers a great opportunity as a small but very important piece of the puzzle to make an important contribution in the fight against this treacherous disease,” said Dr. Scheuch.

Sport in moderation, proper nutrition, and vaccination while avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking are important in treatment. COPD can be treated with medication similar to asthma; the majority of patients use inhalation devices. The success of the treatment, however, depends not only on the correct use of the devices but also on adherence to therapy, i.e. regular intake of long-term medication. Even if the stress is not acute. This is where VisionHealth comes in with the App Kata®. The young Munich-based company was founded by Dr. Sabine Häußermann. The medical technology engineer has 20 years of experience in the field of chronic lung diseases in Kata®.

The most important weapon against COPD: adherence to therapy

As a digital assistant, Kata® enables effective inhalation therapy for all available inhalation devices thanks to artificial intelligence and augmented reality. The app directs the user, measures the amount of active ingredient absorbed, reminds him of applications, analyzes usage and provides feedback to improve inhalation technique and adherence to therapy. Kata® aggregates anonymous data records with the explicit consent of patients and in strict compliance with data protection laws. These allow scientists to further optimize therapies. And, at the same time, adherence to therapy also reduces treatment costs, as inhalation devices are used more efficiently.

Financing round on aescuvest

In order to be able to implement the upcoming development steps and the preparation for the market launch of Kata®, VisionHealth GmbH is currently presenting itself to a large audience at the crowd investment platform aescuvest, which specializes in healthcare companies. Investors have already invested almost 60,000 euros there.

You can find out more about Kata® at https://www.aescuvest.de/kata