December 17, 2012 -- Background: Asthma guidelines recommend that patients receive training on the correct inhaler technique, with rechecks at each visit. However, suboptimal inhaler technique remains a major issue among Asthma patients. Further, the concurrent use of multiple inhaler types with different techniques can create more confusion for Asthma patients. This ultimately leads to poor Asthma management.
Challenges with Current Approach:
Metered dose inhalers are used to deliver a number of commonly prescribed asthma medications. Patients who are prescribed pressurized Metered-dose inhalers (pMDIs) require training and skill to co-ordinate both activation and inhalation of the inhaler. Physical demonstrations performed by a nurse, physician or pharmacists during the first patient visit, can help patients to learn the correct inhaler technique.
The demonstrations cannot ensure that the patient may remember the same technique and continue performing the same steps during each inhalation. The effectiveness of the training relies on patient’s observation and ability to retain the correct inhaler technique.
According to the conventional methods, practical and physical demonstrations on correct inhalation can only be provided to patients in person, during their physician visits, pharmacy visit or in an Asthma educational group.
Sometimes patients only receive written instructions to guide their inhalation technique. Due to language barriers many patients may not be capable of reading and understanding the instructions provided with the Metered dose inhalers and end up using the inhaler incorrectly for prolonged periods, thereby leading to poor Asthma control and poor clinical outcome.
Enter Smart Phones: Patient Education Apps
There is considerable data around the need for more effective tools that can reduce time demands on busy physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and pharmacists.
Mobile Applications can provide continuous – anytime, anywhere learning as well as a more personalized learning experience for Asthma patients or caregivers.
Use-Inhalers Smartphone Apps:
Our physicians, health professionals, designers, and engineers, working closely with patients, came up with a unique learning process that is online, interactive & provides audio-visual training on correct inhaler techniques.
Learn how to inhale for Metered dose inhaler and how to use Metered dose inhaler correctly along with an interactive quiz.
Initial usage patterns and feedback indicates that patients are learning faster and retaining information on correct technique longer with our audio-visual training and quiz.
Superior and engaging self education on Asthma provides better understanding of disease process and possible complications. This will reduce loss of quality of life, ER visits and admissions, and patient acceptance of limitations caused by Asthma.
Effective content and training delivery via the mobile channel can become the key to successful Asthma education for patients and improved health outcomes.
It is still early to indicate precise ROI (return on investment) benefits; however, trends noted with Use Inhalers.com are very encouraging.
As per Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America every day in America 44,000 people have an asthma attack and 4700 people visit the emergency room due to asthma.
These online tools could help the asthma patients to get the most from their inhaler, and potentially may reduce the millions spent annually on asthma-related emergency room admissions.
Author: Dr. Fiona Shetty M.D & Gunjan R. Gupta