In New Zealand, Asthma affects approximately 20% of the population and is the leading cause of hospitalization for children. The country has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, second only to the UK.
Breathe Easy is a digitized system that improves on current paper-based asthma management plans.To tackle this problem Asthma New Zealand has teamed up with John McRae, CEO of VADR — events, promotions and development company — to develop an innovative way for those with asthma to manage their symptoms.
Together they came up with the Breathe Easy asthma management app for iPhone, allowing users to monitor asthma symptoms and easily report back to their GP. Breathe Easy monitors peak flow levels, creates action plans to share with GPs, offers reminders to take (inhale) medication, and provides links to important information and support from Asthma New Zealand. In other words, it is a digitized system that improves on current paper-based asthma management plans.
“I’ve had asthma for as long as I can remember – as child right through to adulthood,” says John. “As I gained a better understanding of the condition, I’ve been able to manage it better.” He learnt to identify his own triggers and the resulting symptoms, and was able to adapt his lifestyle accordingly, for example, by eliminating certain foods from his diet that exacerbated his symptoms.
John wanted to help others to do the same, and as a board member of Asthma Auckland (since June 2013), he proposed a mobile solution. “I wanted to focus on a project that I was passionate about,” he says. “I already had the resources in place, and I knew they could be used to provide a solution to a problem that affects a lot of people.”
During its initial stages, Breathe Easy received a lot of resistance from the health sector.Creating the app was not without its challenges, though. The development process took an entire year, something which John attributes to the regulations that surround the health sector. “Being health-related, the app required a rigorous approval process and it’s vital that every step is done correctly and meets all requirements,” John said.
Like that’s not enough, during its initial stages, Breathe Easy received a lot of resistance from the health sector, though those attitudes quickly changed when it became so popular.”
The application had over 2000 downloads within six months of its launch, indicating that people are highly engaged with their own health through mobile devices. Going forward, VADR will launch an online clinical dashboard, which will allow patients to adapt their own action plans, while GPs will be able to get an overview of their patients’ symptoms, as well as a greater understanding of the condition.
[Via: Scoop NZ]