Apple’s asthma health app | An integral part of Apple research kit

asthma health app

Apple is the leading company for electronics in the world for their iPhones and iPads. Apple Store is now targeting on health care of their customers and taking medical research to a new level. As the apps are becoming ubiquitous in the present world, Apple is going to make them as their tools towards clinical tests and monitoring studies. The company launched an open source software framework for researchers by the name research kit. A wide range of information can be obtained from it, such as weight, blood pressure, glucose levels, etc. Apple has introduced this one with iOS8. The research community is very passionate about the possibilities of app-mediated studies and is already leveraging it to create their apps. Research kit comprises of many apps for providing awareness about different types of illnesses. The discussion is not complete without talking about asthma health app. Interesting, isn’t it? 

Who is working with Apple Research kit?

Although Apple is well known for its electronic products, it can’t take this medical research package into its own hands. So, Apple has joined its hands with some research communities. They comprise of both universities and companies. Universities and Medical Institutes participating as a part of Research community are:

  1. University of Rochester, USA 
  2. Aston University, UK 
  3. Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York 
  4. Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology 
  5. Life Map Solutions worked for Asthma Health App 
  6. The Seattle-based nonprofit organization has developed Parkinson mPower app
  7. Sage Bionetworks participated in the launch of Research kit
  8. Last but not the least is the ordinary people, who participate and provide their suggestions or surveys directly through the app and helps in the development of Research kit to track changes in their symptoms. Based on the eligibility criteria, anyone can join in the research study. 

The principal objective of this Research kit is that to help patients monitor symptoms and medication usage. How caring!

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What does the Asthma Health App do?

Today, Asthma is causing difficulty in breathing for many people. It is one of the leading chronic diseases around the world. This chest illness had become familiar today, and more than 334 million people are suffering from it costing $748 billion annually. The disease can be managed very easily i.e. by taking prescribed medication and by avoiding asthma triggers. But if neglected, this may lead to a dangerous situation or even death. 

The Asthma Health app is a personalized tool that assists participants to gain greater insight into their asthma, adhere to avoid triggers, treatment plans take charge of their health. The app presents personalized reminders to take designated medications, assists participants track their condition 24×7, enables them to review trends, and gives them feedback on their progress. It helps you to track your asthma symptoms, allows you to evaluate trends, provides you feedback on your progress, and presents personalized reminders to take your prescribed medications. The Asthma Health app has even added new features that allow you to share information collected on the app with your doctor. Its main aim is to help patients endure less asthma-related distress with improved quality of life, better symptom control and some unexpected medical visits. 

Developers

This was the first product developed by Icahn School of Medicine in collaboration with Life Map Solutions. It was co-developed with the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, which is located within the Icahn School of Medicine i.e. at Mount Sinai. 

Investigators

After receiving information from various surveys and patients, these people tend to examine the facts to improve the performance of the app and to make it more users friendly. 

Yu-Feng Yvonne Chan, MD, Ph.D., Director of Personalized Medicine and Digital Health, is the leading investigator held for the Asthma research project design and execution, along with three co-principal investigators: 

  • Eric Schadt, Ph.D., Director of the Icahn Institute, Chair of Dept. of Genetics & Genomic Sciences.
  • Joel Dudley, Ph.D., Director of Biomedical Informatics.
  • Linda Rogers, MD, Asthma Clinical Director.

Key features

Record and track your: 

  • Triggers such as colds, strong smells, increased physical activity, exhaust fumes, house dust, and animals 
  • Daytime and nighttime asthma symptoms and how they affect your daily activities 
  • Daily usage of controller and rescue inhalers 
  • Emergency medical visits, department visits and changes in medication 
  • Inhaler Usage 
  • Peak Flow 
  • Physical action through Apple Health App-enabled things 

Share with your Asthma doctor: 

  • An overview of your current asthma limitation, to help guide medical decisions 
  • A concise summary of your recent asthma symptoms 

Receive reminders and notifications about: 

  • Local air quality 
  • Your medications 

Get Educated: 

  • Watch physician approved videos for tips on effective asthma management 
  • Learn proper inhaler technique 

Apple Health App data access

This app will read and write the resulting Apple Health App data only with your permission: 

  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate 
  • Height 
  • Weight 

This app will scan the following Apple Health App data with your permission: 

  • Sleep Analysis 
  • Biological Sex 
  • Inhaler Usage 
  • Date of Birth 
  • Steps

Personalization

Every patient differs from other. The data accessed may be relevant but not exact for all the patients who are suffering from asthma. Discoveries performed with the Asthma Health app may facilitate the development of algorithms to assist patients to prevent, manage and detect asthma exacerbations without expensive emergency room visits or inpatient hospital stays. They’ll also contribute to identifying the best ways to achieve optimal adherence by patients to their prescribed medications so they can reach the best possible quality of life with minimal reliance on rescue medication. The research committee also understands how important the privacy of personal information is and they even respect them. So, the data accessed by the app is very confidential and is not shared with anyone without our permission. 

What’s the user base Apple is targeting?

Research kit is being used for some different medical studies, including for tracking epilepsy patients’ daily experiences and several other trials. While the asthma test data is just one point, the study’s outcomes could go a long way in proving scientists that information generated through the program, at least for certain kinds of studies, is on point. Asthma is the disease which is affected by the people irrespective of their ages. So, Apple is targeting to increase its business from the medical point of view.  

Mobile Health Study is going to revolutionize the future of medical research. It provides the regular check up of the patient just like a physician and harnesses the power of Apple’s iPhone. The fact of socioeconomic issues that are to be concerned while buying an iPhone is said to be overcome to some extent with this mobile health study. Moreover, Apple is also planning to provide a new GPS system which provides the Asthma patients with the locations where fresh air is available. Research kit is going to become stronger day-by-day and is going to reduce the burden of triggers in Asthma patients. Who knows, in future, these apps will convert into diagnostic centers.

Image credit: www.istockphoto.com

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