Singapore's SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP) and Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) launched an asthma care management app called AsthmaCare Buddy on 2 April 2013.
Both agencies said the app is the first of its kind for the region. The tool is co-funded by SHP and IHiS' parent organisation Ministry of Health. AsthmaCare Buddy aims to provide asthma patients with clear instructions on what to do when they experience the various conditions of their disease.
"The challenge is to motivate the patient to avoid asthma triggers and take medication daily, on a long term basis, to control his disease and prevent attacks. AsthmaCare Buddy empowers the patient to better manage his disease and is highly motivating," said Dr Tan Ngiap Chuan, director of Research, SingHealth Polyclinics.
Such an app is what asthma patient Nurasyikin Binte Dzulkifli needs to manage her condition. "With the app, I can monitor my asthma with just a few clicks. And it gives precise information on how to manage my actual condition at any time, such as how many puffs of which inhaler to use when I feel an asthma attack coming."
The app features tools such as Asthma Check, a diary for inputs on asthma conditions, and Action Plan, which guides patient on how to control asthma attacks based on inputs from Asthma Check.
The app then translates the entered data into graphs for easy reference, which Tan said give the patient immediate and objective feedback on how well the asthma condition is being managed.
"I have also shared the app with my two children, so they too know how to quickly find my asthma action plan, apart from where I keep my inhalers. It is inspiring and easy to use, and my seven-year-old son offers to do the graphs and Asthma Checks for me," said Dzulkifli.
Asthma patients are prescribed a variety of inhalers and medicines to take, and in varying doses, depending on their condition at any point in time, according to Tan.
"During an asthma attack or onset of an attack, many get confused about their medication and doses, and would under- or over-medicate. This affects the severity of the attack and recovery time. The app tells them exactly what to do, once they choose red, yellow or green for their condition. All the information they need is at their fingertips," said Tan.
The new app joins a range of healthcare management apps developed by SingHealth. "Since developing our first mobile health diary for rheumatoid arthritis patients two years ago, we have gone on to develop health apps for diabetes and renal disease," said Benedict Tan, IHiS CIO for SingHealth.
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