Research aims to drag asthma management into the 21st century

May 2, 2017, University of Manchester

A new study by University of Manchester researchers, published today - World Asthma Day - has probed the features that both patients and healthcare professionals want from an asthma management app.

Asthma treatment is currently managed by the use of written plans which help work out when to take their medication or seek advice. However, only a quarter of patients receive this and those that do often find it hard to stick to. To compensate, more than 200 have been developed, but these are often not informed by patient or professional needs.

The National Review of Asthma Deaths in 2014 concluded that two-thirds of asthma deaths were preventable.

The new study from The University of Manchester team incorporates focus group responses and written questionnaires from 183 patients and 63 professionals and has evaluated the features that they both find most useful to help inform future designs for apps.

One of the main functions that patients wanted from a mobile healthcare or 'mHealth' app was information on environmental conditions – such as pollen or pollution. They also wanted to be able to collect data that they could show their doctors. Professionals wanted apps to alert patients about when to receive medical help and to monitor adherence to their medication.

The latest study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, is part of a long-term, EU funded project called myAirCoach, to develop a useful and accessible mHealth device.

Lead researcher Dr Andrew Simpson, from The University of Manchester, said: "While smartphones have great potential for helping people manage their health, there has been such an explosion of different apps and devices that patients and professionals don't know what works best or if the design is up to the job.

"The idea of myAirCoach is to carefully work with these groups to find the best design and range of functions which help people manage their asthma."

With more than 300 million world-wide and 5.4 million in the UK affected by it, asthma is ideal for an mHealth approach. If a device or app can be created which is useful for both patients and healthcare professionals it has the potential to save lives, reduce hospital admissions and reduce the use of rescue medication.

The findings support the recommendations of a 2016 Asthma UK report, 'Connected asthma: how technology will transform care' which the research team contributed to, that called for asthma to be 'a focus and an exemplar for investment in technology-enabled self-management and clinician-led management in primary care'.

Dr Simpson concluded: "Although patients and we asked had differing priorities, there was overwhelming support for the creation of evidence-based mHealth to support management. The challenge is now to find the right design and technology to make this a reality."

Explore further: New MyAsthma app can help relieve the stress of asthma management

More information: 'Perspectives of patients and healthcare professionals on mHealth for asthma self-management.' Asthma.

myAirCoach: … t-myaircoach-project

Related Stories

New MyAsthma app can help relieve the stress of asthma management

April 12, 2017
A new and unique smartphone app to help people with asthma manage their condition has been developed by lung experts at the Nottingham Respiratory Research Unit and the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Support people with asthma to manage their illness, researchers say

March 17, 2017
People with asthma should be given tailored support to help them manage their condition, experts say.

New roadmap provides blueprint to tackle burden of asthma

May 2, 2017
A new roadmap has been published identifying key priority areas that need to be addressed to tackle the burden of asthma.

Study links optimal asthma control with reduced health-care costs

November 10, 2016
In a study of 736 asthma patients in Singapore, good asthma control resulted in a saving of S$65 (US$48) per physician visit. Compared with an average cost of S$214 (US$158) per visit, this reduction represents a cost saving ...

Poor asthma control prevalent in the united states

February 28, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Many patients with asthma who do not use controller medications have persistent disease, and among those patients who do use controller medications, few have well-controlled disease, according to a study published ...

Certain red flags indicate an increased need for intensive care among patients with asthma

June 29, 2016
In patients admitted to the hospital for asthma, illicit drug use and low socioeconomic status were linked with an increased risk of requiring admission to the intensive care unit. Not adhering to asthma prevention medication ...

Recommended for you

Research team diagnoses asthma with nasal brush test

June 11, 2018
Mount Sinai researchers have identified a genetic biomarker of asthma that can be tested for using a simple nasal brush and basic follow-up data analysis. This inexpensive diagnostic test can accurately identify mild to moderate ...

Eosinophilic esophagitis may be due to missing protein

June 7, 2018
Scientists have discovered that the absence of a specific protein in cells lining the esophagus may cause inflammation and tissue damage in people with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). EoE affects as many as 150,000 people ...

Mouse study links triclosan, a common antimicrobial, to colonic inflammation

May 30, 2018
A large research team led by senior author Guodong Zhang at the University of Massachusetts Amherst reports that the antimicrobial ingredient triclosan, found in hand soaps and toothpastes among other products, could have ...

Body knows best: A natural healing mechanism for inflammatory bowel disease

May 30, 2018
Treating inflammatory diseases of the bowel is extremely challenging: Genes, gut microbes and disrupted immune function all contribute. Weizmann Institute of Science researchers are proposing a way around this complexity. ...

Chance discovery links inflammatory bowel disease with common bacterial gut toxin

May 17, 2018
New research has uncovered a surprise link between a common bacterial toxin found in the gut and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

New cytokine network can repair tissue damage in the intestine, study finds

May 16, 2018
A new group of proteins called cytokines, critical for antimicrobial activity and repairing the damaged intestinal tissue found in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), has been discovered by researchers in a study led by Georgia ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.