FDA approves app-connected digital inhaler

It can monitor usage and send the data to its companion app.

The FDA has given the ProAir Digihaler, a digital and mobile-connected inhaler that comes with built-in sensors, its sweet approval. Those sensors can detect whenever the device is used and even measure the strength of the user's inhalation. More importantly, the inhaler can send data on people's usage to its mobile app companion. By providing them with visual information, users can spot trends and ensure they're getting the right amount of medication, as well as share it with their doctors if needed.

According to Tonya Winders, chief of non-profit group Allergy and Asthma Network, a lot of people aren't using their inhalers correctly or are using them too often. She explained that a tool like this can enable doctors to see their patients' inhaler usage, identify issues with the way they're using it and help them manage their condition or illness.

The FDA also approved a smart sensor that can be installed onto a patient's inhaler to track their usage earlier this year. ProAir's creator says it's the first inhaler with built-in sensors, though, which is probably why it needs to be tested more. It will first be available in 2019 through a number of early experience programs, with a national launch planned sometime in 2020.