Christchurch patients wanted for health study

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 09:18 09/08/2014
roger dennis
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/ Fairfax NZ
CLEARING THE AIR: Roger Dennis, of Sensing City, with sensors measuring particulate matter and Smartinhaler, a sensor-equipted inhaler that sends information when it is used by the patient.

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A world-first project overlaying real-time health data with air pollution information is taking off in Christchurch with the recruitment of citizen data collectors.

The trust leading the project, Sensing City, wants to recruit 150 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) sufferers in collaboration with the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB).

They will be invited to sign up on a voluntary basis after being admitted to Christchurch Hospital with exacerbated COPD symptoms.

"We will also be approaching people who have been admitted previously. They will get a letter inviting them to participate in the study," said manager Canterbury respiratory research group Dr Malina Storer.

The participants will be given "Smartinhaler" kits made by Auckland firm Nexus6 to wrap around their inhalers that will automatically record where and when they use their medication.

The data will be transmitted via smartphones supplied by telecommunications company Gen-I to a secure database.

It will then be overlaid with air quality data recorded around the city at the same time using about 30 sensors.

Storer said people with COPD were admitted to Christchurch Hospital on average about two or three times a year.

Ronli Greyling, of Sensing City, said: "By overlaying environmental data about the city's air quality with health data collected from Smartinhalers, we will develop a deeper understanding about COPD, and be able to help patients receive treatment earlier or even prevent them from having to go to hospital."

Sensing City founder Roger Dennis said all of the information from the COPD project would be "open data".

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- The Press

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