Asthma is one of the most common long-term conditions worldwide, affecting over 330 million people, and many of those struggle to take their medication regularly.
Modern medical science has made remarkable progress in the treatment of asthma. Inhalers containing steroids are particularly effective in preventing an asthma attack but getting people to take these preventive medicines long-term remains a challenge. Achieving adherence is therefore very important to reduce the risk of death.
One potential solution that can increase the adherence and reduce the risks associated with not taking medication as prescribed is using digital technologies. These technologies, including text message reminders, web-based apps and smart inhalers can help people take their asthma medication better.
Some evidence from different studies confirms that digital tools have a positive impact on patients in improving their correct taking of asthma medication; consequently, this action improves their health condition. Patients with access to the digital technology had fewer asthma symptoms and, on average, half the risk of asthma attacks compared with people who did not use any technology. These benefits could reduce the risk of exacerbation, hospitalisation and, most importantly, asthma-related deaths.
While using technology, 15% more people took their medication as prescribed, compared to those who don’t use a digital device. Patients who don’t use any digital technology, only took 45% of the prescribed amount of their medication.
This 15% increase has huge impacts on people’s asthma management, as for people taking their medication regularly, there is a reduction of symptoms and a cut in terms of risk of asthma attacks.
Clearly, patients using the technology had better quality of life and lung function, although the effect on lung function was small and may be of limited clinical importance.
Check out Professor Mark Levy’s podcast about Asthma here:
Digital technologies are a good solution for asthma people who find it hard to take their medication regularly as digital is likely to help improve their medication taking, which in turn can reduce asthma symptoms and attacks. Smart Respiratory thinks that digital is the future and patients using digital tools will be able to monitor their asthma condition simply by looking at their phone. Smart peak flow and its technology will provide unique opportunities for asthma patients and for the doctor, giving them the opportunity to monitor the patients. Smart Peak Flow is a digital device that allows patients, while using their own smartphones, to update data related to peak flow, asthma symptoms and reliever inhaler use. Patients can self monitor their own condition and share data with their GP or asthma nurse online.