Patient Centric App Review

App Reviewed: AsthmaSense (Ver. 1.0.1)

Purpose of App Review

  • Evaluate ease of use of AsthmaSense for recording medication use and asthma symptoms
  • Determine implication of app on management of asthma exacerbations

Introduction:

AsthmaSense was created by iSonea Inc., who specialize in management of asthma through technological innovations. They have so far created the WeezoMeter and have started development of apps to help manage asthma.

App Specifics:

Last Updated: August 2, 2012
Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Requires: iOS 5.0 or later, Android 2.1 and up
Reviewed on: iPhone 4

Initially, the app opens up to a start menu where the user can see several sub-menus, such as their ‘Journal,’ ‘Settings,’ ‘Reminders,’ and ‘Rescue.’

The first thing that needs to be done is the creation of a user profile to be managed on the app. In the ‘Settings’ section, users input information requested including the patients name, measurement device (e.g. peak flow meter), date of birth, gender, and height. Multiple users can be added.

After inputting the users information, medications can then be added, along with when self-measurements are to be taken. Medications and reminders are added in the settings under ‘Med/Measurement Reminders.’ Categories include rescue medications and maintenance medications, along with measurement reminders. A nice feature is that medications come preloaded, so users only have to select the medication and dosage.

After inputting medications and reminders, the app then functions to help alert users to when to perform activities. It is possible to select under ‘Reminders’ if they want a ring tone to alert them or be silenced. As actions are performed, they are recorded in the ‘Journal’ section.

Holding it vertically displays actions as a listed journal action page, but turning your device sideways lists the actions performed graphically. These can be displayed by time preferred, and if symptoms or peak flow readings wished to be viewed.

Perhaps the best features of the app are the ability to record when a user is experiencing symptoms. This is accomplished on the home screen. In addition, peak flow measurements and wheeze rate % can be imputed as well. One feature that would be beneficial is the ability to track where exacerbations are occurring through GPS integration.

As a user requires rescue medication use or PRN (as needed medication) when the need arises. This can be very beneficial to track use of medications and overall respiratory functions. Where this app then shines, is that it can alert users as to whether their asthma is currently under control, or if further management is required. This can be seen at the top bar of the app on the home screen where it alerts the user to their overall functional status.

For those that feel they require further help, they can use the ‘Rescue’ function to either contact emergency help (i.e. 911) or contacts the user has selected, such as a primary care physician.

Healthcare goals of app:

AsthmaSense seeks to help patients recognize when their asthma is uncontrolled, as well as record use of medications pertinent to management.

Evidence to support goals:

There is currently limited evidence supporting the use of smartphones in managing asthma (Pubmed Search terms: ‘asthma’ ‘medical app’ ‘app’ ‘smartphone’ ‘tablet’). One article that had conducted a review found no direct evidence indicating the effectiveness of using SMS to help manage asthma [1]. However, the review noted that patients perceived a higher level of usefulness and satisfaction. There were no studies evaluating the role of smartphones in management of asthma.

Price

  • Free

Likes

  • Password protection
  • Multiple possible users on same device
  • Ability to remind user on maintenance medication use
  • Utilization of PRN or Rescue medications may be recorded
  • Graphs and journals to show the overall progress of patients asthma history

Dislikes

  • No ability to export data to others that could help alert providers
  • Some features (such as graphs) may not be evident to users without further instruction (Help menu may be beneficial)
  • Inclusion of link or video on instructions could help users
  • Inputting data for past events is difficult
  • Integration of location services that could help track if certain areas or environments could be triggering asthma events (especially with GPS services on)

Healthcare Providers that may Benefit from App

  • Primary Care Providers
  • Pulmonologist

Patients that may Benefit from App

  • Patients with Asthma
  • Patients with multiple inhalers
  • Parents that are monitoring childrens asthma – especially if using an asthma action plan

Conclusion

  • AsthmaSense is a beneficial app to help assess and record current asthma status for patients that may require further intervention and monitoring, however lacks ability to communicate with caregivers.
  • Pros – User interface is very nice and helps to record rescue medications and reminds patients when to use maintenance medications. May be very beneficial for parents to monitor children’s asthma
  • Cons – No apparent ability to share data with others and decreases providers input on patients asthma condition

iMedicalApps Recommended?

  • Yes

Rating: 3.75 (out of 5 possible)

  1. User Interface –  4
  2. Multimedia usage – 2
  3. Price – 5 (free)
  4. Real world applicability – 4


Links:
iTunes Store
Google Play

Similar Apps:
AsthmaMD

References:

  1. Nickels A, Dimov V. Innovations in Technology: Social Media and Mobile Technology in the Care of Adolescents with Asthma. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2012 Sep 14.

Disclaimer:
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your healthcare provider.