The expression “There’s an app for that” continues to prove time and again how substantial an impact mobile technology can have on our daily lives — including those who suffer from diseases such as asthma. A recent article published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) describes the case of a male patient 42 years of age suffering from asthma who used an app that sends an alert to an allergist’s office in the event that his symptoms become out of control. Through the use of the Asthma Ally app, the patient managed to seamlessly connect with his allergist’s office, helping him through a difficult exacerbation.
“Asthma Ally is unique in that when the person with asthma loads the app, they connect to their allergist’s office through a doctor portal. In the case of the patient in the study, the remote delivery of his symptom data alerted clinic staff to his poor asthma control. They brought him into the office, and following the intervention, his asthma symptoms began to improve,” said Richard Lucas who is the study author.
In addition to the app linking to the allergist’s office, Asthma Ally also allows patients to maintain a record of their symptoms, which are automatically connected to current environmental conditions; these data are available instantaneously for the allergist to review. By monitoring changes in symptoms and environmental conditions such as dust, pollen count, ozone and humidity, allergists can easily choose the appropriate treatments and remedies for their patients.
“One of the main benefits to an app like this is that for people with a chronic condition like asthma, it helps keep an eye out for changes that might indicate there’s a problem. If those suffering from asthma, along with their allergist, can address a problem while it’s still readily controlled, they might lessen the chance of an urgent care visit, or hospitalization. That saves everyone in the long run, financially as well as medically,” said Richard Hendershot, an allergist and the study’s author.
Many individuals who suffer from asthma do not always know that an allergist is specifically trained to treat asthma and create a plan that will address their unique symptoms. “In the information age, more and more people are social media savvy. A smart phone application that allows a patient with asthma to communicate in real time with their allergist may have great potential as a tool to improve and optimize asthma care. It can identify problems that the patient may not realize are serious well before such problems cause harm to the patient,” said Gailen Marshall, an allergist who treats asthma patients. Recent updates say that asthma care provided by allergists is linked to better patient outcomes in comparison to care provided by generalists. This fact, together with mobile technology, can help asthma patients avoid serious symptom flare-ups.