Creators of the Asthma Health App, a free app for Apple iPhones, recently announced findings on how the app’s new features are positively impacting the health of asthma users. The creators, LifeMap Solutions and the Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai, initially developed the app for asthma patients to participate in a large research study using just their iPhones. The app offers features such as the Doctor Dashboard and integrates a commonly used electronic records system called Epic so that participants can interact with their physicians and be actively engaged in the study.
The app has been available for Apple iPhones for about six months. More than 8,600 asthmatics have already enrolled in the study — all without ever having to meet with a trial investigator in person. The study, according to the makers of the app, has proven to be one of the world’s largest epidemiological research studies on the management of asthma, and has performed much better than expected, changing the face of how research can be conducted in the future.
The study has provided a considerable amount of valuable data, yielding preliminary results about how the app is used and the health difficulties that active asthma patients experience daily. Other data types, such as the use of asthma medication, the identification of asthma triggers in the participants, and outcomes of asthma treatment have also been collected through the iPhone app.
Not only has the Asthma Health App been found to be a good research tool, but researchers have also found that the app has helped to improve education and awareness of asthma patients, as well as the best ways to treat it. This aspect of the Asthma Health App has encouraged the research team to add more enhancements and features to the app so that asthma patients and their doctors can be better served by the program.
Asthma is characterized by spasm of the upper airways of the lungs in response to various triggers, such as exercise, cold air, and allergens. It is a complex disease to treat with many different variables, making it an ideal condition to study in large epidemiological studies such as the one being conducted using the Asthma Health App.
The CEO of LifeMap Solutions, Corey Bridges, noted that the Asthma Health App provided a large amount of historical health data, which is being shared with participants’ doctors so that the app can provide a springboard for discussions between the doctor and patient as to the best treatment methods for the management of asthma.
The Doctor Dashboard was created with the doctor-patient relationship in mind so that, when the iPhone is shown to the doctor, a simple click of a button on the app allows the doctor to identify areas of concern in the patient’s treatment, including the control of symptoms, the condition of their asthma, and physical activity. It is a truly portable way of providing information to asthma providers at any time.
The Asthma Health App has been integrated with the Epic electronic health records system so that lung specialists can get access to data from the app for patients at Mount Sinai who are using the program. The researchers believe that, by combining information on the App with data from the Epic system, long term data on asthma patients can be gleaned to help the lung specialists provide the best care to their patients with asthma. It is hoped that this integration of app and electronic medical records can be used in other areas of research as well.
According to Bridges, the LifeMap Solutions company is pleased with the way their app is being used to help asthma patients at Mount Sinai. They hope to be able to help other doctors and hospitals around the country also benefit asthma patients in the same way as they have been helped at Mount Sinai.