Researchers Develop an App That Can Help Improve Childhood Asthma

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A team of researchers from the University of Utah Health and Intermountain Healthcare and Parent Partners in Salt Lake City designed an app for monitoring childhood asthma.

The app, eAsthma Tracker, will allow parents to continually monitor and manage the child’s asthma, and enable timely interventions. According to lead author and professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah Health, Flory Nkoy, “It’s exciting to see that using an effective app can not only help improve the lives of children with asthma and their parents, but also allow their providers to give optimal care.”

The unique feature of the app is that it comes with an automatic alert that goes off if the child is having an asthma episode, and sends the real-time data to doctors, parents of caregivers. Such a trigger can prompt parents to seek medical help, or doctors to approach parents in order to discuss the issue. Senior author and hospitalist at University of Utah Health, Dr. Bryan Stone notes, “Parents love the idea that they can see how their child is doing and that their doctor is on the other end of the app and working with them.”

300 children and parents at 11 clinics across Utah participated in a study conducted by the research team who also designed the app. The researchers aimed to find out if families using the app had experienced significant asthma control, fewer visits to the doctor, increased school attendance, and improved quality of life. Results, reported by parents, showed an improvement in all parameters. Moreover, the researchers also compared the health outcomes in children who used the app versus those who didn’t. 60% of the app users made fewer visits to emergency clinics, and 35% of the parents reported a drop in use of oral steroids.

The researchers are now working towards commercializing the product by expanding to more healthcare facilities. “We are optimistic that spread of eAsthma Tracker can significantly improve asthma care and reduce asthma related healthcare costs,” Prof. Nkoy concluded.

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About Author

Bill Carr is a Senior Editor at Plains Gazette, based in Austin. Previously he has worked for FOX Sports and MSNBC's "Morning Joe." he is a graduate of the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. You can reach Bill via email or by phone