Digital health advances could improve asthma care, says charity

Digital healthcare could help people with asthma manage their condition, according to a new report by Asthma UK.

The charity said on Wednesday that millions of asthma patients in the UK are not getting basic care they need, with wide variations in the level of care across the country.

Asthma UK, which questioned more than 4,500 patients, found that two-thirds miss out on yearly check-ups, tailored advice and lessons in how to use their inhalers.

The charity believes that digital health technology, such as electronic alerts and smart inhalers, could improve care and help patients keep their symptoms under control.

Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, commented: “With the 2014 National Review of Asthma Deaths reporting two out of three asthma deaths are preventable with good basic care, it is hugely disappointing that the latest Asthma UK care survey shows little has changed since that damning report. It is clear that expecting old ways to tackle long-standing problems won’t work.

“We must take a bold, new approach and take advantage of new asthma digital health solutions to transform the way asthma care is delivered and support self-management. Digital asthma action plans, smart inhalers, and automated GP alerts are just some of the ways asthma care could be brought up to date and help reduce the risk of potentially fatal asthma attacks.”

An NHS England spokeswoman quoted by BBC News said: “Whilst we recognise the important issues in this annual survey, we also expect patients to take shared responsibility for managing aspects of this long term condition.

“It is important that patients consult with their GP where necessary and know how to use their medication properly.

“In future, digital solutions may improve dialogue with health professionals and ensure the widespread development of personal asthma action plans to help avoid unnecessary and costly hospital visits for treatment.”

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