According to the American Lung Association, asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders in children, currently affecting an estimated 7.1 million children under 18 years of age;of which 4.1 million suffered from an asthma attack or episode in 2009. Absent proper management, asthma not only threatens the life of the child but it also poses a costly burden on the health care system and disrupts an adolescents'education. Given both its severity and historical burden on the health care and educational systems, it is easy to make the case for investments in research that lead to new and engaging models to manage the condition. More and more individuals are using mobile tools such as smartphones and tablets as the primary source of Internet connectivity. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is proposing to develop a mobile-based application (eg, smartphones and tablet) to aid pediatric patients and their families to better manage their asthma treatment protocol and to improve their asthma self-management skills (based on 2007 National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Guidelines). In fact, according to the Pew Internet Project's 2011 teen survey, 31 percent of teens ages 14-17 have a smartphone. Adolescents would be prime users of the application. Research has demonstrated that they are at greater risk for poor asthma outcomes because of counterproductive self- management behaviors such as non-adherence to treatment and smoking. A similar application for professional use also will be developed. The Academy-developed mobile-based applications will design functions that promote and strengthen-self management skills including video clips demonstrating proper use of inhalers and nebulizers, immediate access to individualized asthma action plans, symptom severity determination, access to current clinical and patient education information, symptom/trigger diary, and asthma control testing. Pediatrician leaders will be called upon in the development, testing and implementation of the mobile applications as well as identify appropriate approaches to connect them to the Academy's Education in Quality Improvement for Pediatric Practice (EQIPP) online educational program. The Academy also would design the application to facilitate data collection on users to track and monitor changes in attacks/severity. This would permit the physician to measure any improvements in their patient's self-management of their asthma treatment plan. The tool that will be used to collect physician improvement data is EQIPP. The application will be integrated into the EQIPP asthma course allowing it to also be used as tool for improvement to help physicians monitor asthma self management of their patients.
Asthma is the most common serious pediatric chronic disease exacting a heavy toll on the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children and adolescents. Its incidence continues to grow placing a heavy burden on both the health care and educational systems due to unnecessary hospitalizations and school absences respectively. Children and youth with asthma require additional support and guidance from the medical home and an efficient and easy to use mobile health application that connects the patient to the medical home would improve the overall health profile of the public's health.