Mobile technology for asthma: how technology can help patients with chronic condition ?
Using high technology for asthma ? Why not !
Let’s focus this week on a meta analysis (a study based on results of multiple validated studies) proposed in May 2017 by the Australian team of Lisa Miller, at the School of Medicine in Hobart (Tasmania). The team evaluated the efficacy of mobile technology interventions on adherence to treatment and clinical outcomes in asthma. These results were compared to both traditional paper action plan and standard treatment instructions. The evaluated technologies consisted in SMS alerts or dedicated applications. Ten key features, corresponding to what is known to improve patients behaviors regarding their condition, were identified in the tested solutions. However no solution, standard plan, paper-based monitoring, or mobile technology implemented all of these.
After a rigorous analysis of more than 700 papers, the authors were able to produce refined results based on 1135 patients. The team demonstrated that mobile technology can improve medication adherence and quality of life, decrease unscheduled visits, and increase the likelihood of achieving well-controlled asthma. Compared to the standard plan, consisting only in instruction for the treatment and health consequences, mobile technology always perform better for these criteria. This standard plan is however the most frequent situation experienced by patients of any age worldwide. When compared to paper action plans, both produced equal results.
Looking closer to what was inside the tested mobile technologies, the authors observed that many of the interesting features that digital content enables, like feedback, social support or antecedent information, were not implemented in the solutions on the market. This emphasis the lack of performant solutions for patients suffering from asthma or other chronic conditions.
Fortunately some solutions are emerging, like JOE, a connected companion that will propose a new approach for young patients. By using validated strategies to produce motivating and persuasive contents, JOE will not only remind the treatment, but also teach, and motivate to do better than any existing solution. JOE is focused on children, the new digital native generation is suppose get the best from this new media. Based on the findings of the Australian team, JOE will also be useful for older patients suffering from asthma and hopefully any chronic condition.