In the UK alone 5.4 million people are affected by asthma, worldwide the figure is close to 300 million. The NHS alone spends around £1billion on treatment and caring for asthma patients each year. So why are asthma patients turning to mHealth apps? The European Asthma Research and Innovation Partnership have placed mHealth among the top priorities in asthma management and prevention. Why? Well it’s as simple as this, mHealth has huge potential to help patients self-manage their asthma. Furthermore, mHealth apps are not just restricted to the management and prevention of the condition; they provide information on assisting patients on making timely and appropriate decisions with regards to their health.
Adherence is generally poor for asthma treatment with significant levels of complacency on the condition. With the use of mHealth apps adherence can be significantly improved. Furthermore, by using mHealth apps, the patient becomes engaged with the condition and the treatment for it.
Studies have indicated that asthma attacks can take place days or even weeks in advance, by using mHealth apps, there is the potential for remote monitoring which allows triggers to be spotted earlier. Patients can see the triggers and help recognise things that make their condition worse essentially a preventative control for future attacks. With more patients self-managing, severe sufferers may need to use corticosteroids less, a steroid which can sometimes have adverse side effects.
The Growth of the “internet of things” has ignited innovation across a range of sectors increasing consumer activity to the digital realm. As previous blogs have discussed, the UK healthcare sector has been slow to take advantage of mHealth and big data. However, the population is generally tech savvy and are now using mHealth apps to take control of their health. Enabling the patient to care for themselves can save costs, with the NHS already stretched. mHealth apps also provide the patients with demonstrations on proper inhaler technique. Poor inhaler usage leads to a greater chance of emergency admission. Furthermore, Research has shown that 21% of asthma sufferers are not having their inhaler technique assessed. By using mHealth apps, the patient will be informed on the correct usage.
As for the future, we’ll probably see more remote monitoring in asthma treatment. The timely reminders, correct inhaler technique, the information the patient is provided with about the condition, and picking up triggers, all point towards a tech savvy population using mHealth apps as a means to self-manage the their condition.
Do you need help with your inhaler technique? the Medsmart App will be launching in April 2017, find out more here.