Novartis Announces Cloud Technology in Development for Inhalers

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Novartis announced on Jan. 5, 2016 that the company is collaborating with Qualcomm to develop cloud-based technology for COPD patients.

On Jan. 5, 2016, Novartis announced a collaboration with Qualcomm, through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Life, to develop a technology solution for the connectivity of the Breezhaler inhaler, a device used for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). According to a press announcement from the company, this next generation of the Breezhaler inhaler will enable patients to have access to their own data on the use of their inhaler in near real time.

The small, disposable, and low power module contained within the inhaler device can detect and report usage, the time that the inhaler is used, as well as additional relevant information for patients and physicians. The module wirelessly sends the data to patient's smartphones and a Novartis COPD mobile application, which sends the data to the cloud, allowing patients, and potentially their healthcare providers, to monitor their COPD. The company says this new technology will be available to patients by 2019 and will be used with Onbrez, Seebri, and Ultibro inhalers.

According to a report by Reuters, the impact of big data on pharmaceutical companies has been an ongoing conversation. In January 2015, Roche announced collaboration with Qualcomm to capture data from patient’s medical devices and transmit to cloud-based back-end services. The Reuters report also states that GlaxoSmithKline is in talks with Qualcomm for a “medical technology joint venture potentially worth up to $1 billion.”


While cloud-based storage for medical information may assist doctors and patients, experts say there are potential security risks. Hackers may be able to obtain names, birthdates, billing data, and policy information from cloud-based storage services.  

Source: Novartis