Arkansas Children’s Research Institute has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for $3.1 million to study asthma improvements, particularly through smartphone technology.
The grant will help fund a five-year study on how smartphone technology can empower adolescents with asthma to use self-management strategies to improve their health.
“Adolescent patients are at higher risk of experiencing serious complications due to asthma,” said Tamara T. Perry, M.D., lead researcher for the project at ACRI, medical director of Arkansas Children’s Telemedicine program and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine. “Traditionally, it has been challenging to encourage adolescents to recognize the importance of asthma self-management and to take ownership of their own health and well-being.”
Researchers will examine the effectiveness of a personalized, interactive app in reducing asthma morbidity among patients who have an increased risk for asthma attacks.
According to Arkansas Children’s, the study will look at a number of variables and will compare outcomes of patients using the app to outcomes of patients receiving traditional paper instructions for home asthma care.
The proposed app will provide real-time, personalized feedback, asthma education, as well as data logging and tracking capabilities. Patients will receive recommendations about caring for acute symptoms and medication and prescription refill reminders to reinforce healthy habits.
Researchers will also examine how sharing data from the app with the participants’ primary care providers may impact outcomes.
“Ultimately, we’re looking for a solution that will give adolescents real-time access to their personalized health information and allow them to take wellness into their own hands,” said Perry. “If successful, we will be able to design additional apps that are applicable to other age groups and patients with other chronic medical conditions. Not only do we have the potential to help asthma patients in Arkansas, but our hope is to impact the lives of children around the world.”
Perry treats patients with allergy and immunologic disorders. Her research at ACRI focuses on finding innovative solutions by using technology to improve health outcomes for children with asthma and other allergic diseases.
The pilot studies for this project were funded by UAMS Translational Research Institute (TRI), ACRI and Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI).