Using smart devices to monitor and manage long term conditions is becoming increasingly popular and is often known as mobile health. However, there is still limited evidence on the effectiveness of such approaches. A ‘smart inhaler’ is being developed by myAirCoach to help people monitor their asthma and evaluate how well this new technology works.

Why is this work needed?

In Europe, almost 30 million people live with asthma. It is a complex condition, with different people experiencing different triggers, and it can be difficult to track symptoms accurately over time. There are a variety of apps for smart devices that claim to help users manage their symptoms, but none of these has been scientifically proven to work.

What will happen?

A European project called myAirCoach will develop a system to help people manage their asthma and simultaneously investigate whether it actually works. The system is planned to be a combination of a ‘smart inhaler’ and a smartphone app. The inhaler will contain sensors to measure how medication is being taken, while environmental and other triggers can be recorded via the app.

What will the benefits be?

This is an ongoing project, but if successful, this approach could become central to asthma management, with doctors prescribing smart inhalers and people with asthma being able to manage their own condition more effectively. By collecting evidence on whether or not such apps are effective, the project is also helping to investigate the general use of mobile health for the management of long-term conditions.

What type of data is involved?

The smart inhalers monitor a range of environmental, behavioural and physiological factors.

Participants will consent to take part in this study. Data will be transferred from smart devices to a central, secure environment within the PatientCoach system.

Who is funding and collaborating on this work?

The EU funds myAirCoach through the Horizon 2020 scheme. It involves twelve partner organisations from six European countries. The UK is represented through Asthma UK, the University of Manchester and Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine.

Where can I go for more information?

myAirCoach

Asthma UK: myAirCoach