What Do Patients Want in an Asthma App? - European Medical Journal

What Do Patients Want in an Asthma App?

Helle Marie Christensen,1,2 Daniel Pilsgaard Henriksen,3 Hanne Madsen1

The system of the app is funded by TEVA, Mundipharma, and Novartis. The authors declare no conflicts of interest in the present study.

EMJ Respir. ;7[1]:61-62. Abstract No AR02.
Asthma, asthma application (app), mobile health (mHealth), patient perspective, patient reported outcome, respiratory medicine, self-management, telemedicine

Each article is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 License.


Asthma is estimated to affect 300 million people worldwide,1 and the literature advocates the beneficial effect of self-management programmes on asthma control.1-3 The use of smartphones and tablet applications (app) for self-management of asthma is progressing, showing promising results in patient self-management.4 Understanding patients’ perspectives is a fundamental step in the development of user-centered mobile health (mHealth) systems.5


The authors wanted to develop and implement a mobile health (mHealth) app to aid the treatment of asthma patients diagnosed and treated at an outpatient asthma clinic, and to aid the patient in preventing deterioration of their disease.  Also, the authors wanted to examine the patients’ experience and demands for this app.


A qualitative study comprising semi-structured interviews with 20 patients was conducted during a period spanning 12/06/18–06/02/2019. Data were analysed as described by Kvale et al.,6 and driven conceptually by critical psychology7,8 focusing on the patient’s views on what was considered useful in a clinical app. The authors were looking for patients’ experiences of constraints and the possibilities of using an app in asthma self-management.


The interviews revealed that tools that assess peak flow, plan of action, and self-management, as well as a device to ensure correct inhalation technique, were considered as useful tools in the app. Additionally, the possibility of corresponding with the clinician between appointments and booking one’s own appointment was in demand. Only one patient would not use an app at all due to dyslexia, and two patients needed further education in using an app. All the other patients had experience in using apps.


Patients’ perspectives showed that an app as a tool in self-management was considered useful if it was used in collaboration with health professionals.

Global Initiative for Asthma. Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention, 2018. Available from: https://ginasthma.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/wms-GINA-2018-report-tracked_v1.3.pdf. Last accessedL 17 October 2019. Honkoop PJ et al. MyAirCoach: The use of home-monitoring and mHealth systems to predict deterioration in asthma control and the occurrence of asthma exacerbations; study protocol of an observational study. BMJ Open. 2017;7(1):e013935. Pinnock H. Supported self-management for asthma. Breathe (Sheff). 2015;11(2):98-109. Cook KA et al. Improvement in asthma control using a minimally burdensome and proactive smartphone application. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2016;4(4):730-7.e1. Simpson AJ et al. Perspectives of patients and healthcare professionals on mHealth for asthma self-management. Eur Respir J. 2017;49(5).

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