7 Ways Asthma Patients Tap New Technology
Health Hacks Here are some tips on how to use technology and mobile devices to help those living with asthma breathe a little easier.
Asthma is a chronic lung inflammation disease that causes episodes of coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. For most, quiet periods of no symptoms are interrupted by flares — whether mild, moderate or severe. The goal of asthma control is to lengthen the quiet times and prevent flares. Fortunately, many web-based and mobile applications are available to help.
1. Mobile apps
Keeping track of symptoms and medication use is key to learning how to manage your asthma. Mobile apps can make it easier and maybe even more fun. Did you use your inhaler during science class today? Tap, tap, tap and it’s recorded on your app. Do you use a peak flow meter? Tap, tap, tap to record the readings. These apps are a convenient place to store information from your Asthma Action Plan, so you know what to do when symptoms arise. Many can remind you to take medicines or see your doctor. Some health care providers have systems for sharing data straight from your mobile app to your doctor. The doctor can see how symptoms are progressing and intervene if there are problems brewing.
2. Web-based communication
All-in-one website and mobile-based platforms help people with asthma self-manage their condition alongside their health care team, from any location. One tool delivers personalized and evidence-based educational content, helps patients track and report symptoms, engages family members and caregivers, and gives clinicians insight to intervene at the right time. Think of it as an asthma coach or advocate always on call to support you in your asthma journey.
3. Digital peak flow meters
Monitoring lung function with a peak flow meter is a daily part of many asthma management plans. For parents, it can indicate whether their child’s asthma is getting better or not, and can warn of problems ahead of time. Digital peak flow meters will store your readings so you can show your doctor, download them onto computers or store in apps.
4. Educational online videos
Want to learn to use your inhaler or nebulizer correctly? Online videos offer easy-to-access training. Just be sure to choose these from respected health care or patient education organizations.
5. Clinic-based telemedicine
Telemedicine offers high-level care without long drives or waits in the doctor’s office — particularly for those living in rural communities without local allergists. In clinic-based visits, local clinicians perform in-person tests and exams and link you up with a specialist, via live video.
6. Telemedicine video calls
On-demand visits from your home or office allow you to teleconference with a doctor anytime. Perfect for follow-up or educational visits, you can get prescriptions refilled, review an Asthma Action Plan or receive instruction on how to correctly use a bronchodilator inhaler or epinephrine auto-injector, all from the comfort of your home or office. Some services offer a walk-through video tour of your home to identify and suggest how to reduce potential asthma triggers.
7. Online communities
Support groups offer a sense of community, a place to connect with others going through similar challenges and exchange practical suggestions. Online communities are available specific to asthma, allergies and anaphylaxis. They are not a substitute for medical advice, but can be a valuable support system to reduce anxiety and boost confidence.