Mark said: “Inhalers are great, they’re very ubiquitous. We use them because they improve the therapeutic index. But they’re a challenge, in terms of remembering to take them, wanting to take them or using them correctly. We’ve had inhalers for more than 40 years and there is still a significant lack of control”.

“Using an inhaler incorrectly is not human error … it’s a design challenge.”

Mark Milton-Edwards, Head of Product and Health Solutions at Teva

Research shows that just one month after inhaler training, 39% of patients use their inhaler incorrectly.1 Mark advocates that this is not human error… it’s a design challenge.

Mark noted that around seven years ago Teva decided to conduct research to take a different approach to the problems with inhaler use. We found that people who use inhalers are just real people who are not very good at remembering to use them or how to use them. Mark then set the Teva engineering team a challenge to see if available technology could help with inhaler technique and adherence. He set up a ‘shopping list’ of requirements for a smart inhaler that included:

Mark noted that usability has to be the first step before moving on to the science. The goal is to empower patients, but also physicians, so they can have an objective, richer dialogue and make better decisions. Technology often doesn’t bring the clinical improvements, that’s down to humans, Mark explained.