Sensor-based inhalers integrated into health care providers’ clinical workflows may help improve medication adherence and support children with asthma, a new study suggests.
The study showed that connected inhalers, which use Bluetooth sensors that attach to participants’ asthma inhalers to detect medication use and share the data with physicians, may promote adherence to recommended controller medication use and proactively detect worsening of asthma symptoms.
As a result, this may enable health care providers to intervene more rapidly — before patients become critically ill — and improve communication between patients, caregivers and asthma care providers.
“Emerging connected technologies can help improve patient health, with this randomised-controlled clinical trial showing that pediatric asthma patients with access to inhaler sensors report better asthma control and quality of life than patients who only received a standardized asthma education curriculum,” said lead author Ruchi Gupta from Northwestern University.
For the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, the team evaluated more than 250 children, moderate/persistent asthma, based on an Asthma Control Test questionnaire, which measured their asthma symptom control on a scale from 0 (poor control) to 27 (well controlled).
Caregivers who participated in the study were assessed based on a Pediatric Asthma Caregiver’s Quality of Life questionnaire, measuring how the sensor-based monitoring adherence affected their day-to-day involvement.
Caregivers reported improvement to their quality of life after the first month of the study, which was sustained through the year-long trial, due to greater ease of asthma management.