Transcript: New Smart Inhaler Uses Wireless Technology to Monitor Children’s Asthma

Waves crash on the waterfront as the Chicago skyline is displayed.

ON SCREEN TEXT:          Chicago

A young boy, Brandon, is pushed on a swing by Meyonna Cosey.

MEYONNA: When I get asthma attacks, I can't breathe. Like, my lungs are closed.

Meyonna sits in a park with her mother and speaks to someone off-screen.

ON SCREEN TEXT:          Meyonna Cosey

                                    14 years old

MEYONNA: I was gasping for air. It was just very, very scary.

McKayla Kline sits next to Meyonna at a table and addresses someone off-camera.

ON SCREEN TEXT:          McKayla Kline


MCKAYLA: The small little triggers, they affect her. And with Brandon, same thing.

Brandon hangs upside-down from the playground.

MCKAYLA: So, you know, it can be kind of tiresome as a parent.

Meyonna and McKayla sit at the table.

Ruchi Gupta stands in a doctor's examination room and speaks to someone off-camera.

ON SCREEN TEXT:          Ruchi Gupta, M.D.

                                    Northwestern University professor, Lurie Children's Hospital pediatrician

RUCHI: I'm Ruchi Gupta. I'm a pediatrician.

Meyonna rocks back and forth on the swing.

RUCHI: Asthma is one of the most common conditions in children.

Brandon looks down as he sits on top of the playground.

RUCHI: In the United States, it impacts about 10% of children.

Ruchi stands in the examination room.

RUCHI: In Chicago, it's even more. It's closer to 14% of children.

Ruchi walks into an examination room. Meyonna, McKayla, Brandon, and a nurse are already seated in the room. Ruchi and Brandon shake hands.

RUCHI: Hi, hey, Brandon. How are you?


RUCHI: Good to see you.

Ruchi holds a stethoscope to Brandon's chest, then moves it to his back.

RUCHI: Okay, now I want you to take a deep breath. Ready? What happens for kids with asthma is they usually have an inhaler that controls their asthma.

An inhaler is shown laying on a table.

RUCHI: It's a steroid. They take it every day.

A rescue inhaler is shown laying on the table.

RUCHI: Then there's another inhaler that they're given. That is their rescue inhaler, and that helps them if they're having trouble breathing immediately to help them feel better. It's very confusing to families which one's which, and what they're supposed to do with them.

Ruchi holds the stethoscope up to Meyonna as she takes a deep breath.

Ruchi stands in the examination room and speaks to someone off-screen.

RUCHI: Pediatricians, or as physicians, we are unable to really monitor what they're doing. But it's a significant problem. It's one of the most common reasons kids end up in the emergency room and hospitalized.

An outdoor sign is shown.

ON SCREEN TEXT:          Children's




Tall buildings are shown in front of a blue sky. The video fades and white text appears.

ON SCREEN TEXT:          Meyonna and Brandon

                                    were among the first patients in an

                                    asthma study organized by

                                    UnitedHealthcare and Northwestern

                                    University to test a smart inhaler.

RUCHI: New sensor technology is coming out that actually gets attached to their inhalers.

Ruchi holds an inhaler and touches the top of it with her finger.

RUCHI: When the patient actually inhales, the sensor will record that.

Ruchi holds the inhaler up to her face and mimics using it.

The inhaler is shown laying on a table.

A pair of hands are shown typing on a laptop.

RUCHI: And that data will be sent to the parent's mobile phone and also to the physician's office.

McKayla walks through the park.

Ruchi stands in the examination room and holds an inhaler.

RUCHI: The daily medicine that they're supposed to use, if they don't use it for a period of time, we alert them. Similarly, if they use their rescue inhaler more than four times in a day, the physician can call and say, "Hey, are you okay?"

McKayla and Ruchi sit in the examination room.

MCKAYLA: And I would get a little call, like, "Hey, someone didn't take their medicine today." But I, as a mom with children who have asthma, absolutely adored it.

Brandon sits in the examination room and nods his head.

RUCHI: Our goal is to try to see how we can use technology best to help us care for our children with asthma.

Ruchi holds the inhaler and speaks to someone off-camera in the examination room.

Brandon spins and does cartwheels in the park.

MCKAYLA: I hope that mothers and children that suffer from asthma, I hope they can get ahold of this tool to kind of get some extra help.

McKayla sits in the park and speaks to someone off-camera.

Meyonna sits beside McKayla at the table in the park.

MEYONNA: Yes, I feel amazing. Amazing. I'm just happy that I can do a lot more than I could.

MCKAYLA: I'm happy that she's happy, and as a parent, I can breathe because she can breathe.

The screen fades to white and blue text appears.

ON SCREEN TEXT:          UnitedHealthcare®