SAN ANTONIO — The introduction of an iPhone asthma action plan app to residents improved their familiarity and use of the plan in practice, according to study results presented at the 2015 American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting.
The mobile app also improved residents’ comfort in treating patients with asthma, Naveen Nannapaneni, MD, an internal medicine resident at Wayne State University in Michigan, told Healio.com/Allergy.
Nannapaneni and colleagues created an iPhone app (Asthma Pal, Biolithic, iOS AppStore) to attempt to improve the quality of care patients with asthma would receive in an outpatient setting by attempting to facilitate physician use of asthma action plans in their clinics.
Asthma action plans have shown to improve patient outcome when included in a patient’s care, however they have been deemed difficult to understand in the past.
“As our health care system continues on the path of integrating electronic measures into patient care we have encountered obstacles that may not have been predicted,” Nannapaneni, told Healio.com/Allergy. “We still have quite a distance to travel in our attempts to streamline this integration in a manner that would lead to optimizing patient outcomes while also improving physician efficiency.”
An asthma action plan typically consists of baseline measuring of a patients’ level of lung function and then working with the patient to self-manage their care based on the severity of symptoms.
The residents participated in a survey to measure pre- and post-intervention results on the use of the iPhone app. The researchers provided the residents with a seminar on the use of action plans and the iPhone app.
Prior to the implementation of the app, the survey indicated that 48% of residents (n = 72) did not know where to find an asthma action plan and an additional 34% did not know how to use one.
However once the app was introduced to the residents, 87% of residents (n = 55) reported that they planned to use the action plan in the future and 67% reported a better familiarity with the use of the action plan.
At the beginning of the survey, only 2% of residents reported they always used an action plan. After the implementation of the app, 27% of residents reported that they always used the action plan. And those who reported never using the action plan decreased from 13% to 0%.
The use of electronic measures in health care has a future, Nannapaneni told Healio.com/Allergy. However, more needs to be done to perfect it.
“We need to continue identifying new paradigms through which we can incorporate electronic measures to improve the quality of care we provide to our patients,” he said. – by Ryan McDonald
Nannapaneni N, et al. Abstract 18. Presented at: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting; Nov. 5-9; San Antonio.
Disclosure: Nannapaneni reports no relevant financial disclosures.