News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


App allows those with Asthma to Breathe Easy

Number One health app allows those with Asthma to Breathe Easy


New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world - second only to the UK. Asthma affects approximately 20% of the population, and is the leading cause of hospitalisation for children.

Asthma New Zealand works towards helping people with asthma, and their families, by providing the information they need to understand, manage and live with asthma. While there is no real cure for asthma, it can be kept under control. Asthma New Zealand has teamed up with John McRae, CEO of events, promotions and development company VADR, to develop an innovative way for those with asthma to manage their symptoms.

Together they’ve developed the Breathe Easy asthma management app, the first iPhone App that allows users to monitor asthma symptoms and easily report back to their GP. Breathe Easy is the first mobile health app available in NZ, and monitors peak flow levels, creates action plans to share with their GP, offers reminders to take medication and provides links to important information and support from Asthma New Zealand. It is essentially a digitalised system that improves on, and will eventually replace, current paper-based asthma management plans, which help those with asthma to prevent or reduce the severity of their symptoms.

“I’ve had asthma for as long as I can remember - as child right through to adulthood,” says John. “As I gained a better understanding of the condition, I’ve been able to manage it better.” John learnt to identify his own triggers and the resulting symptoms, and was able to adapt his lifestyle accordingly, for example, by eliminating certain foods from his diet that exacerbated his symptoms.

While John had his own symptoms under control, he wanted to help others to do the same.

He’s been on the board of Asthma Auckland since June 2013, and had previously been involved in earlier fundraising projects.

“I wanted to focus on a project that I was passionate about,” he says. “I already had the resources in place, and I knew they could be used to provide a solution to a problem that affects a lot of people.”

Working with Asthma New Zealand was an interesting experience for John. “Asthma New Zealand are a brave & innovative organisation,” he says. “Not everyone would take on a project like this, that used technology in a way that hasn’t been done before.”

Creating the app was not without its challenges. The Breathe Easy App was launched through IOS4 technology in 2012, but required a twelve-month development process, something which John attributes to the regulations that surround the health sector.

“It was a long discovery process of consulting stakeholders, health experts and users,” he says. “Being health-related, the app required a rigorous approval process and it’s vital that every step is done correctly and meets all requirements.” There are always challenges when creating something new, and John found it helped to have proper systems in place. “The App had great feedback and very positive, transparent reviews. I was also lucky to have a talented team working for me, who tackled the issue and rose to meet the challenge.”

A key feature of the app is its ability to remind users to use their inhaler or preventer. While a wide range of asthma medication is available, as John says, “If you don’t take it, it doesn’t work.” As mobile technology adapts to take on more and more roles traditionally filled by other products, a phone is often the first thing one engages with in the morning and the last thing used at night. In an age of hyper-connectivity, it makes sense to multitask by using the technology available to us for multiple purposes.

During its initial stages, Breathe Easy received a lot of resistance from the health sector.

“People were somewhat reluctant to get on board,” say John. “They thought it wouldn’t be used, but those attitudes quickly changed when it became so popular.”

Despite initial challenges, the Breathe Easy App had over 2000 downloads within six months of its launch. The App’s popularity indicates that people are highly engaged with their own health through mobile devices. GPs are notified of users records on a permission basis, yet it would appear that taking on the management of one’s own symptoms offers app users a sense of control and ownership over their own health matters.

VADR are currently developing an online clinical dashboard, which will benefit both GPs and patients. This will monitor the results of peak flow testing and other symptoms, allowing patients to adapt their own action plans accordingly. GPs will be provided with an overview of their patient’s symptoms, allowing them a greater understanding of the condition and meaning they will be better equipped to treat patients as a result.

The Breathe Easy App demonstrates how the public is willing to engage with technological developments that can be used to regulate one’s wellbeing. Asthma New Zealand, along with VADR, continues to work towards providing Kiwis with support, advice and new and innovative solutions to manage their health.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Review: “Salute” By Royal New Zealand Ballet In Wellington

The Royal New Zealand Ballet performed “Salute” for a final time in Wellington on Sunday night, and it was nothing short of spectacular. More>>

ALSO:

NZ on Air: More Funding For TV Captions To Increase Access

More funding for TV captions to increase access NZ On Air has increased funding to provide more captions and audio description on television programmes for the hearing and sight impaired. More>>

Music: So Laid Back Country China Album Release

On Friday night, So Laid Back Country China held a gig at Meow for the release of their new album With Knees of Honey in Goodbye Canyon. I briefly spoke with Harriet lead vocals, keyboard) and Michael (lead vocals, guitar) before the gig More>>

Art: Wellington Region Celebrates Matariki

Eight Wellington museums and galleries have joined forces to present a major programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate Matariki 2015, the Māori New Year. The Wellington Matariki Festival will host more than 60 free events and activities between Saturday ... More>>

Wellington: TEDxWellingtonWomen Speakers Unveiled

The lineup is announced today for the highly anticipated upcoming event TEDxWellingtonWomen. Speakers include local women and men who have lived extraordinary lives and have ideas worth spreading. More>>


Books: Witi Ihimaera To Address ‘State Of NZ Literature’at Festival

6 May 2015 MEDIA RELEASE Witi Ihimaera to Address ‘State of NZ Literature’ at Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival The New Zealand Book Council has chosen the 2015 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival as the stage for its annual address, which ... More>>

Culture: Historic Māori Portraits Travel To The Czech Republic

Image credit: Gottfried Lindauer, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915 More>>

Art: Something Felt, Something Shared - Enjoy

Gabrielle Amodeo, Ruby Joy Eade, Clare McLean, Kalya Ward Curated by Emma Ng May 7 – 30, 2015 Opening: Wednesday May 6, 5.30pm Strange frequencies are channelled through personal narratives and poetic placeholders in Something felt, something ... More>>

Culture: Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015

Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Images from New Zealand Defence Force Click for big version A bugler plays The Last Post Click for big version A View from the top of the Carillion Click for big version Faces old and young Click for big ... More>>

Television: MediaWorks Announces Dancing With The Stars Hosts

MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide ANZ are delighted to announce host Dominic Bowden alongside co-host Sharyn Casey for the hit series Dancing with the Stars. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news