Research Led by Albany Med Featured on NIH News Page

Research originating at Albany Med, along with efforts to bring telemedicine to lung patients during the pandemic, caught the attention of the National Institutes of Health.

An article recently posted on the news page of the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute featured Albany Med pulmonary and critical care physician Thomas Smith, MD and the Capital Region-based health care startup ZEPHYRx.

Prior to the pandemic, Dr. Smith and ZEPHYRx had been collaborating on an NIH clinical trial for a breath-activated video game designed to help improve lung function in post-operative patients.

But when the risks of Covid-19 for immunocompromised patients became clear, Dr. Smith realized he’d need to find a way to remotely assess the lung function of patients with respiratory conditions.

Pausing the clinical trial, Dr. Smith and ZEPHYRx adapted the project into an app, Breathe Easy. Paired with an existing FDA-approved handheld breathing device, the new app became an at-home diagnostic tool for patients with a range of lung conditions, including cystic fibrosis, COPD and asthma.

According to the NIH, the ZEPHYRx Breathe Easy platform is now used in over 500 clinics across the country. Further, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation recently purchased a device for every patient with cystic fibrosis in the U.S. – at least 20,000 people.