In 2016, 251 million people — or 3.4% of the Earth’s 7.4 billion population — suffered from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). COPD is a largely preventable ailment responsible for 5% of all deaths globally, according to WHO (World Health Organization). Exposure to tobacco smoke through either active smoking or secondhand smoke is the primary cause of COPD. COPD cannot be cured, but treatment can alleviate symptoms, improve quality of life, and reduce the risk of death.

Following a successful pilot study in Germany, Kaia Health recently announced a major feasibility study in Japan of the KAIA COPD, company’s AI-powered motion-tracking digital therapeutic program. We wrote about Kaia Health’s multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program last year. The smartphone app combines individualized physiotherapy, psychosocial support, and patient education, Patients who stuck with KAIA COPD for 20 days showed clinically significant improvement in Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) scores as well as other areas, including emotion, mastery, and fatigue in the German pilot study.

Running the next level study in Japan following the German test is appropriate because adults in the two countries smoke approximately the same number of cigarettes per year on average. In Japan 8.6% of patients 40 and older and 10.3% of patients 60 and older are diagnosed with COPD.