‘Brilliant’ asthma app to help patients manage their condition at home trialled in Sheffield

A new asthma app is being trialled at Sheffield Children’s Hospital to help children manage the lung condition when it is severe.

By Rochelle Barrand
Thursday, 15 August, 2019, 07:00
Asthma sufferers often control their asthma by using an inhaler. Picture: Andrew Roe

The trial, which is a partnership between Sheffield Children’s and technology company Aseptika, uses a new Asthma+me app to help patient and parents better manage severe asthma outside of the hospital.

The app allows the patient and their family to input information about their asthma and link up their inhalers.

The app collects this information and helps educate the child and the family, and can also help automatically warn them when an asthma attack is about to happen. With enough advanced warning, the hope is that families can act sooner and avoid visits to hospital.

Professor Heather Elphick, paediatric respiratory consultant at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, is leading this area of research.

She has identified the need for technology to support children aged 6 to 12 and has been collaborating with Aseptika for over two years.

Heather said: “The app can help families further understand when an asthma attack may happen, monitor their child’s asthma consistently and perhaps prevent trips to hospital in the future.

“It’s a good way to complement the care received at Sheffield Children’s and I’m looking forward to seeing where technology can take us next.”

One of the patients who is already using the app is eight-year-old Callum. Similar to a lot of children with moderate to severe asthma, he visits Sheffield Children’s Hospital every few months for an appointment with a specialist paediatrician.

Callum was referred to the hospital because his asthma wasn’t in control and his family needed more assistance to manage it.

Callum’s mum Jacqueline said: “The technology has really helped us as a family help Callum manage his asthma. We know when we need to give Callum extra support and we understand how we can help him. It’s brilliant; I’d recommend it to anybody.”

The Asthma+me app also has electronic personalised asthma care and an action plan, which can be printed and given to the child’s school, friends and GP to explain what to do in the event of an asthma attack, with the aim to automatically send the child’s data to their electronic patient record at the hospital each week.