Asthma app helps control asthma: Alerts allergists when sufferers need assistance
The adage, "There's an app for that" is even more true in light of an app that sends an alert to your allergist's office when your asthma may be out of control.
An article in the May issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) presents the case study of a 42 year-old male patient suffering from asthma. The man used the Asthma Ally app to connect with his allergist's office - allowing the staff to note when his asthma symptoms weren't under control.
"Asthma Ally is unique in that when the person with asthma loads the app, they connect to their allergist's office through a doctor portal," said Richard Lucas, PhD, lead study author. "In the case of the patient in the study, the remote delivery of his symptom data alerted clinic staff to his poor asthma control. They brought him into the office, and following the intervention, his asthma symptoms began to improve."
In addition to connecting to the allergist's office, the Asthma Ally app allows patients to record their symptom status and then automatically pairs this data with current environmental conditions for their allergist to view in an online dashboard. With access to asthma sufferer's changing symptoms and environmental conditions like pollen count, dust, ozone and humidity, allergists can more easily find remedies and treatments for their patients.
"One of the main benefits to an app like this is that for people with a chronic condition like asthma, it helps keep an eye out for changes that might indicate there's a problem," said allergist and ACAAI Fellow, Richard Hendershot, MD, study author. "If those suffering from asthma, along with their allergist, can address a problem while it's still readily controlled, they might lessen the chance of an urgent care visit, or hospitalization. That saves everyone in the long run, financially as well as medically."
Many people with asthma don't know that an allergist is specially trained to treat asthma and can create an asthma plan that will work for their unique set of triggers and symptoms. "In the information age, more and more people are social media savvy," said allergist Gailen Marshall, MD, PhD, ACAAI Fellow and Editor-in-Chief of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. "A smart phone application that allows a patient with asthma to communicate in real time with their allergist may have great potential as a tool to improve and optimize asthma care. It can identify problems that the patient may not realize are serious well before such problems cause harm to the patient."
According to the newly updated ACAAI Asthma Management and the Allergist: Better Outcomes at Lower Cost, asthma care provided by allergists is associated with better patient outcomes across a range of important markers. Compared to care provided by generalists, patients getting care from an allergist have fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits, higher ratings for the quality of care, fewer restrictions in activities and improved physical functioning. The ACAAI Scope and Impact of the Asthma Epidemic infographic contains valuable asthma management information.