How one inventor’s need for home respiratory therapy became the driving force behind the Monarch® Airway Clearance System.
Caption: Marten De Vlieger partnered with Hillrom to develop a mobile respiratory therapy device, the Monarch® Airway Clearance System.
Six in ten Americans have at least one chronic disease, and four in ten have two or more.1 For many of these conditions, treatment and management options can be limited and for some, non-existent. This was the reality Marten De Vlieger faced, and one that Hillrom understood when they decided to partner in finding a solution.
Marten and his sister were both born with cystic fibrosis (CF). As they grew up, their mother had to manually administer chest physiotherapy (CPT), to help clear their airways. Marten and his sister are not alone. More than 30,000 people in the US are living with cystic fibrosis (more than 70,000 worldwide).2 But Marten envisioned a life with more independence. So, he set out to create a device that went beyond home respiratory therapy, providing himself and others with mobile airway clearance therapy they could take nearly anywhere.
Marten knew that a great partner could help him deliver the flexibility and control he'd claimed for himself to everyone who needed it. Hillrom stepped up to the plate and gladly partnered with him to develop the Monarch® Airway Clearance System.
The Monarch® Airway Clearance System uses Pulmonary Oscillating Discs (PODs) to generate oscillations and targeted kinetic energy to your lungs. This airway clearance therapy helps thin mucus and increase airflow, mobilizing secretions from the airways while you’re going about your day. Now, you no longer have to put your life on hold for therapy.
“When I visited [Hillrom] two and a half years ago, I'd seen the passion of the people,” Marten said of the partnership. “I don't think that there's any other company in the world that could do it justice and make my dream happen and get this product out to so many people with CF."3
According to John Bobey, Manager of R&D at Hillrom, the admiration was mutual. "When we came across Marten's device, we realized … it had the kinetic energy and intensity to perform the therapy, but it also had the ability to be mobile.”3 The team knew integration with a home care mobile app could facilitate even more mobility.
Marten wasn’t the only one with a personal connection to mobile care. Nikolas Job, an associate product manager at Hillrom, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was six months old. "My mom found me in my crib face down, and my body was blue. The fight was just beginning.”3
The Monarch® Airway Clearance System has been transformational for patients like Nik and Marten. It allowed Marten to travel, to pursue his love of kite-surfing, to have adventures and to raise his own family. It gave Nik mobility he didn’t think was possible. He recounted, “Someone asked me one time when I was wearing the Monarch® device, ‘Do you want me to go get the paper you just printed?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah that would be awesome.’ And then I thought about it for a second and said, ‘Oh wait. I'm not tied down.’” As Marten states, before the Monarch® Airway Clearance System came along, "Life was treatment, and now life is life."
Even beyond mobility, the Monarch® Airway Clearance System adds ease and connectivity to treatment. It works with our home care mobile app and portal, Hillrom Connex® App and Health Portal, to help patients and care teams share therapy session data and results. Patients can manage their daily care routines, and clinicians can create more informed care plans. The benefits are deeply impactful.