UK startup crowdfunds asthma tech solution

Clin-e-cal is looking to raise at least £50,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to help to further develop its asthma control technology.

The British digital health startup has already raised £45,000 on Crowdcube, and has now opened up the round to the public.

Clin-e-cal has developed two free apps to improve asthma control, the Rafi-Tone app, which helps children to take their inhaler medication as prescribed, and the Clip-Tone app, which helps adults to monitor and improve their inhaler technique.

Both use the company's proprietary SoundResponse technology, which analyses sound signals from the inhaler device. The apps then provide real-time visual feedback to users on their inhalation technique, as well as tracking their adherence.

Clin-e-cal chairman and former managing director of EMIS, Stephen Wilcock, commented: "With the expansion this crowdfunding will make possible, I believe that Clin-e-cal’s technology has the potential to significantly improve both inhaler technique and respiratory disease outcomes."

There are 5.4 million people in the UK being treated for asthma, and the condition is usually well controlled with inhaler medication. However, the UK has some of the worst asthma death rates in Europe, and three people in the UK die from an asthma attack every day. A recent report into asthma deaths in the UK also found that 22 per cent of people in the study were not using their inhaler correctly.

Clin-e-cal launched its Rafi-Tone app in 2016. Since its launch it has featured in the NHS apps library. It was originally developed by a University of Manchester academic Tariq Aslam, to help his son Rafi, by using specially designed games and cartoons to encourage and monitor correct inhaler technique. Rafi Robot, the star of the app, helps to engage the child whilst promoting effective inhaler technique through a series of games.

A 2019 study found that the Rafi-Tone app has a significant impact on children’s acceptance of their inhaler medication, which could lead to an improvement in reported symptoms and a reduction in A&E visits and GP appointments.

In large studies, 51 per cent of children reported becoming upset when using their standard spacer, but this reduced to only 22 per cent by switching to the Rafi-tone system. Similarly, the number of parents confident that the spacer had delivered the right dose more than doubled from 42 per cent to 89 per cent.

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