Asthma+me – the App being trialled to help children manage severe asthma
Posted on August 12, 2019
A new Asthma+me App is being trialled at Sheffield Children’s Hospital to help children manage their severe asthma.
A partnership between Sheffield Children’s and technology company Aseptika, the innovative trial uses the newly developed Asthma+me App to help patient and parents better manage severe asthma outside of the hospital.
The App allows the patient and/or the 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, leads 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 is an innovative way of extending our support at the hospital through technology to children and their families at home. The App can help families further understand when an asthma attack may happen, monitor their child’s asthma consistently through the App and perhaps prevent trips to hospital in the future.
“It’s a good way to complement the care received from us here at Sheffield Children’s and I’m looking forward to seeing where technology can take us next.”
Kevin Auton, Managing Director of Aseptika, said: “Asthma is still the most common medical condition for children and young people in the UK, and is the number one reason for urgent admissions to hospital in England. There are still a small number of avoidable deaths in children and young people from asthma every year, meaning the UK has the third highest risk of death from childhood asthma in developed countries.
“We created this App with the team at Sheffield Children’s to help the whole family better cope with their child’s asthma. Though symptoms are under control after support from their GP or hospital consultant, families still feel they need support at home. The App we’ve created can hopefully decrease the amount of appointments needed: children can spend more time at school or playing with the knowledge that their asthma is being managed.”
Eight-year-old Callum, a patient at Sheffield Children’s, has severe asthma. 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. As well as support at the hospital, Callum and his family have additional help outside of the clinic, through the Asthma+me App.
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.”
Dr Sean Clarkson, Programme Manager at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said: “Asthma+me helps families to manage childhood asthma by increasing knowledge and enabling them to react quickly to anything that could exacerbate a child’s condition. This helps to reduce the number of unplanned hospital visits, including those to A&E.
“We believe Asthma+me has great potential to deliver significant benefits to children, parents/families and the health system and are pleased to be supporting Aseptika to build up their evidence base and adopt Asthma+me across the region.”
The Asthma+me App also includes a complete educational programme, electronic Personalised Asthma Care and 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.
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Caption: Asthma+me and the PUFFClicker smart pMD inhaler tracker from Activ8rlives designed to clip over the commonly prescribed Preventer and Reliever inhalers for young children to track medication adherence
Notes to the Editor:
Key facts about asthma
- 1.1 million children in the UK receive treatment for asthma.24,744 emergency admissions for asthma in 2012.
- 13 children under 14 years died from asthma in 2016.There were preventable factors in 90% of childhood deaths from asthma.
- Less than 25% of the child that died from asthma had a Personalised Asthma Action Plan (PAAP).
- Nearly half of the children that died had an asthma attack in the previous year.
- 30% of the children had daytime symptoms in the previous week.
Severe asthma is a type of asthma that affects less than 5% of people with asthma. Someone with severe asthma has difficulty breathing almost all of the time and often has serious asthma attacks.
Severe asthma isn’t simply ‘asthma when it’s really bad’, or an extreme form of asthma – it’s a specific type of asthma which requires specialist care and support.
Paediatric Asthma support
There are 1.1 million children in the UK that have Asthma. Around 20% of children with asthma require secondary or tertiary level care. Research shows that <50% of these children take their medications regularly as prescribed. Asthma deaths in children are rare but poor adherence to medications was found to be a preventable cause in 34%.
The Asthma+me solution is co-designed with Sheffield Children’s NHS Trust. The solution includes a combination of education sessions, inhaler-use tracking devices, lung-function monitor, in-built symptom checkers, education syllabus to learn as a family, weather pollen pollution feeds, electronic care and action plan and the ability to push data to clinicians and electronic patient records.
Lack of adherence to medications is a global problem with £300million worth of medications /year wasted in primary care due to poor adherence and 50% patients are not taking medication as prescribed. “UK facing an increasingly unmanageable demand on healthcare services” [Royal College of Physicians, 2012] this morbidity and cost needs to be addressed.
Asthma+me is a comprehensive CE-marked Class 1 Medical Device, which is a technology-enabled self-care solution supporting children with asthma to bridge the transition from hospital outpatients back to primary care. It is specifically designed to meet the needs of children aged 6-12yrs and has two versions within the same App; a child-friendly view and a parent/carer view making it different from the many adult asthma management Apps available. It also supports integrated device monitoring, medication diaries, trigger alerts, symptom scores and trigger alerts for weather/pollen/pollution.Core to Asthma+me is education, engagement and empowerment for children and their parents. It has an in-built educational syllabus for both children and parents.
Asthma+me supports a smart pressurised metered-dose inhaler tracker – PUFFClickerTM (pMDI) that connects wirelessly to the Asthma+me App counting inhaler doses, providing reminders to take the next dose and acting as an activity tracker.
A PDF report is sent automatically from Asthma+me to electronic patient record at the child’s Hospital. The consultant paediatrician or asthma nurse can remotely review progress or can access the patient-generated data in the event of an emergency consultation.
The project is funded by UK Research and Innovation (formerly Innovate UK), which adds AI to the solution to provide customised alerts and education and when registered will be a Class IIb medical device called Asthma+me SMARTTM.
Activ8rlives, Activ8rlives.com, Asthma+me, Asthma+me SMART and PUFFClicker are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.
For further details, please contact Jessica Auton on +44 (0)1480 352 821 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Aseptika Ltd www.activ8rlives.com
Aseptika Ltd began developing Activ8rlives in 2010 and is currently developing its fourth generation of integrated systems, which can be used by consumers and their healthcare service providers using a wide range of platforms or devices to better enable effective and easy self-monitoring. Incorporating sensors and monitors ranging from consumer accessories to in vitro diagnostics (IVDs). Our focus is: respiratory and cardiovascular disease, cancer, promoting physical activity and weight management. Aseptika Limited has been certified by BSI to ISO 13485:2016 under certificate number MD691414.
Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk
Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is one of only four dedicated children’s hospital trusts in the UK and provides integrated healthcare for children and young people, including community and mental health care as well as acute and specialist services.
The Trust sees children from 0 to 16 years old in most cases and in some cases up to 18 years of age
Sheffield Children’s Hospital provides a full range of services for residents of Sheffield and South Yorkshire as well as specialised services for patients from across the country.
In 2017/18, 186,761 patients came to the hospital as outpatients. 24,991 children were admitted.
The Trust has many specialist services, with clinicians considered amongst the best in the world. These specialisms include:
- Spinal surgery
- Metabolic bone disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Blood disorders
- Newborn screening
- Children’s Advanced Trauma
- Sleep disorders
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Emergency transfers
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
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UK Research and Innovation www.ukri.org
UK Research and Innovation is a new body, which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.
Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the Arts and Humanities Research Council; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Innovate UK; Medical Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council; Research England; and Science and Technology Facilities Council.
Yorkshire and Humber AHSN www.yhahsn.org.uk
Yorkshire and Humber AHSN is one of 15 AHSNs set up by NHS England in 2013 and relicensed from April 2018 to operate as the key innovation arm of the NHS.
Our strength lies in our ability to operate locally because of the trust our member organisations have in us. We understand the needs of our health systems and are well placed to broker innovative solutions, while collaborating with AHSNs across England to take what works best and quickly spread it nationally.
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