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Mobile app for asthma management

Mobile app for asthma management


People with asthma can breathe easier with New Zealand’s first mobile application to enable better asthma control anytime, anywhere.

Asthma New Zealand’s new Breathe Easy mobile asthma management application is now live and available free from the app store, a step that could revolutionise the way in which New Zealanders manage their asthma.

Asthma New Zealand believes the ‘Breathe Easy’ mobile application will encourage better asthma control and help to reduce absences from work or school, reduce hospital admissions, cut down emergency visits to general practice, decrease reliever medication use, improve lung function and reduce asthma-related deaths.

With Breathe Easy, which is free to download, users can quickly check their personal dashboard to see what their last peak flow reading was, keep a symptoms diary and see when their next doctor’s appointment is. It features automatic reminders of treatment plan and medication times to assist with compliance. It also includes the personal results of their Asthma Control Test (www.asthmacontrol.co.nz) to accurately test whether they have their asthma under control.

A ‘Send to Doctor’ function also allows patients to instantly send up to date asthma management plans to their doctor, meaning health professionals can now have a 360° view of symptoms and ensure people are managing their asthma effectively. Users also have the ability to share their progress with family and friends on Facebook if they wish.

The Breathe Easy application will also benefit asthma research as aggregated, anonymous data will help correlate asthma with environmental factors, triggers and climate change.

The App has a quick test called the Asthma Control Test which gives you some quick feedback on whether your Asthma is under control. Nearly 85% of people who have used the test to date have indicated that their asthma is not under control - indicating they should be more active about their asthma management.

Asthma New Zealand chief executive Gerry Hanna says that the launch of the application marks a significant turning point that will enable thousands of New Zealanders to better control their asthma.

“Smartphones have changed the way people manage their lives and we recognised the role they can play in achieving better health outcomes. Developing a mobile application that will enable people to record their asthma symptoms anytime, anywhere will lead to better asthma control and help people take the right steps to reduce the impact of asthma in their lives”.
The application has been in development for more than 12 months and Asthma New Zealand consulted medical experts and a range of related organisations extensively during both the initial scoping phase and the testing process.

The application works on any iPhone, iPad or iTouch running iOS 4.0 and planning is already underway for the development of an android version and GP Dashboard which will allow health professionals to deliver customised, population and personal level interventions that assists them with their asthma control. It will empower users by helping them securely manage and share access to data from the devices that track there asthma.

The dashboard will complement the successful launch of its asthma management app. 100% of users recently surveyed believe the app is a useful tool, assists them to control their asthma and would recommend it to a friend. The service is provided free nationwide to people with asthma.

The development of the dashboard is supported by market research that has shown that 88% of doctors would like to see their patients track their vitals at home. Also 90% of Asthma NZ app users have indicated they would like to see their doctors to be able to remotely manage their condition. $1.5 billion is spent on Asthma directly and indirectly in NZ each year. Direct intervention by remote monitoring and timely feedback will provide the following cost saving by:

• Reducing hospital admissions

• Reducing GP visits

• Reducing community nursing visits

• Increasing treatment adherence and compliance

• Increasing access to information

• Direct medical intervention

• Reducing losses in productivity from days off work and school

New Zealand has historically had the highest mortality rate for asthma in the world. Respiratory illness is the leading cause for people visiting their GP and is one of the most common reasons people are admitted to hospital. Direct and timely intervention in patients care is now possible with the advance in mHealth as their Asthma New Zealand app is always with
them, anytime, anywhere.

The Asthma NZ app and proposed clinical dashboard provides a much needed advance in asthma control. We are receiving positive feedback from health professionals, such as pharmacists, who are recommending the app to patients which is fantastic and something we full encourage as this is the exact intent of the resource and it's free! It is also great to see that these pharmacists are taking such a “hands on” approach to primary health in NZ.

Key Points

1. Using your blue inhaler more than twice a week is an indication your asthma is not in control

2. It important you say yes to receive push notifications allowing Asthma NZ can in turn alert you to important news such as pollen alerts and flu vaccinations.

3. It’s the first release so Asthma New Zealand is keen for feedback so they can make improvements going forward.

4. We are all guilty of forgetting to take our preventer, the app reminds every morning an evening or when required to follow our treatment plan.

5. It’s important to keep taking your preventer even when you feel well - this is why you are feeling well.

6. People have the option to contribute to on-going research around asthma through the app by opting in anonymously when they sign in.

7. Set a reminder time that makes sense, like when you usually get up and keep a preventer in the bathroom, bedroom or even car

8. Asthma New Zealand is currently developing a dashboard that allows your GP to remotely monitor you asthma control and adjust your treatment plan.

9. No one walks around with their asthma management plan but it’s an essential part of keeping on top of your health - the asthma NZ app allows you to manage your asthma anywhere, anytime.

Development of the application has been supported by sponsors, Asthma New Zealand, GlaxoSmithKline, First Sovereign Trust, Infinity Trust and VADR and is free to download.

More information about the app can be found at www.breatheeasy.co.nz

The application was developed by VADR.

ENDS

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