Young patients to benefit from new app to reduce asthma attacks

A project to reduce hospital admissions for children and young people at high risk of an asthma attack has been launched utilising the latest digital technology.

Our clinicians at the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital and the James Paget University Hospital have joined forces with Cambridgeshire- based technology firm Aseptika, SoWhat? Consultancy and Eastern Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) to support children and young people at high risk of asthma attacks.

The scheme aims to half the number of asthma attacks of 5 to 18-year-olds who experience frequent complications with their condition and will be open to children and young people who have been hospitalised following an asthma attack in the last 12 months.

Patients who take part will be provided with an app to manage their health and a small gadget which connects to their smartphone to tell them when to use their inhaler, including a reminder about proper technique and sends them reminder messages. The connecting inhaler tracker also has a lung function monitor to show them how well their lungs are working.

The project follows funding from NHS England’s Transformation Directorate (formerly NHS X) and uses an enhanced remote monitoring tool called Asthma+me REMOTE to help improve asthma self-care.

Dr Bikalpa Neupane and Dr Anjay Pillai, Consultant Paediatricians at NNUH, said: “We are passionate about avoiding unnecessary admissions to hospital for children with high-risk asthma and winning this award has allowed us to collaborate with great organisations to deliver this project for the children and young people of Norfolk. We hope that the new digital platform will not only help reduce asthma attacks in children and young people and thereby bring down the need for oral corticosteroids and hospital visits, but also empower and promote young people and families to self-manage their asthma better.”

Dr John Chapman, Consultant Paediatrician at the James Paget University Hospital added: “This is a very exciting project which has the potential to change the way that we look after children with asthma. Remote monitoring will allow us to identify which of our patients are doing well and which ones need more of our attention. This should reduce asthma attacks and visits to our outpatient clinics allowing these children to get on with their lives and their schooling.”

The system alerts parents or carers when control of the child’s asthma is getting worse and suggests tailored interventions, with cloud-based dashboards for clinicians and key workers to review remotely. An asthma nurse will provide remote review and will intervene if required.

Kevin A Auton, Managing Director of Aseptika Limited, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with the Paediatric asthma teams at the Norfolk and Norwich and James Paget University hospitals and this multi-disciplinary team to support the parents and carers of children and young people who are at high risk of a future asthma attack. We know from the research data provided by the Public Health team in Norwich that there is clear link between the area in which children and young people live and their risk of hospital admission if their asthma gets worse and turns into an asthma attack. This project, with support from the NHS Directorate of Transformation and this great team, has the opportunity to transform the lives of children, young people and their families with our third generation of the Asthma+me REMOTE digital health solution.”

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