Technology, especially mobile phones, is becoming an increasingly popular and easy way for people to monitor their health and work towards goals. There are many different devices and apps that claim to help you to monitor your asthma, but none of them have been scientifically proven to actually benefit people with asthma with their management of their condition.
This may be because asthma is actually a complex condition and will be different for each person. Different things may trigger symptoms, people will live in different environments that may contribute to their symptoms, and we know that some people aren't shown how to use their inhalers properly and so their medications aren't effective. It can be difficult to track and remember growing symptoms too, so things can get worse over time without you noticing.
Asthma UK are partnering on a project called myAirCoach that is working to develop a system that helps people with asthma to manage their condition, as well as running a trial to test that it does work and does help.
This system will be more sophisticated than currently available self-management tools, and it will involve the combination of a 'smart' inhaler and app for your smart phone or tablet. The inhaler will contain a number of sensors which will record how well people are taking medication, and any small changes in their asthma that they may not even notice. Linking with a smart phone or tablet will enable information about the environment and potential triggers to be recorded.
It could be that the myAirCoach system will eventually be 'prescribed' to people with asthma, or that patients decide to use it to help them to keep track of their condition. The researchers are also investigating ways to use the information collected by the system to link you better with your healthcare professionals.
One of our essential roles in the project is to join researchers up with people with asthma, through our Research and Policy volunteers, all of whom are people affected by asthma. This will ensure that the final product, as well as being effective, is easy to use and is something that people with asthma would want to use in their day to day lives.
The project involves experts and researchers from universities and companies all over Europe.