The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

MONITORING ASTHMA VIA MOBILE PHONES: AN INNOVATIVE TELEMEDICINE APPLICATION

Bree E. Holtz1, Pamela Whitten1



Background: Asthma is a growing problem, especially among low-income, inner-city populations. While there is currently no cure for asthma, management of the disease can effectively control asthma symptoms. This on-going pilot study seeks to demonstrate the feasibility of asthma patients to successfully manage their condition through utilization of their mobile phone. This pilot study seeks to determine the usefulness and satisfaction of recording daily peak flow meter readings and answering weekly questions regarding an individuals' asthma. Objectives of a full study will seek to determine improvements in health outcomes (relating to asthma) and self-efficacy regarding asthma control and management. The following research questions are being examined:

RQ1: How will subjects perceive using their mobile phone to record their asthma?
RQ2: What percentage of subjects reported daily readings without a reminder compared to needing a reminder?
RQ3: Will subjects respond weekly to questions regarding their asthma symptoms?
RQ4: Will subjects believe this to be a tool to better communicate with their physician regarding their asthma?


Methods:
Researchers collected data from five asthma patients ranging in age from 18 - 32 years old, who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate asthma, which has been deemed by the study physician to be controlled. Subjects used their phones to track their asthma for 28 days and participated in an interview and questionnaire investigating subject perceptions of the asthma mobile phone system afterwards. Subject entered data will also be analyzed to determine number and time of entries and correlated with their asthma status.

Results:
Preliminary results indicate that subjects report the application to be highly usable and find it convenient in managing their asthma and medications. Subjects also perceived this tool as helpful in their communication with their physician regarding their asthma. Early study results provide evidence of the potential contribution mobile phones can make for asthma self management. Additional data are currently being collected to more formally track clinical outcomes.

Conclusions:
This study provides a starting point for future research on the benefits of utilizing technology to manage asthma as well as other chronic diseases. Results of this study are valuable as initial formative research for health professionals seeking innovative ways to help people manage their health.