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Digital technology linked to better asthma management :

March 27, 2020

Text messages, mobile apps and other digital interventions can help children and teens take their asthma medications regularly.

Research has found as many as 70% aren’t taking their medications as prescribed, which can lead to illness and missed school days, according to the study.

Some youths simply forget to take their medications, while others may not believe the drugs help. Patients also may have language barriers with their health care provider or find it difficult to make it to a clinic or pharmacy.

“Youth with asthma express preferences for digital health interventions to support their asthma management and value digital technology that allows them to track asthma symptoms and medications, set medical reminders, and receive asthma knowledge related to medications and action plans,” authors wrote.

They set out to see whether these digital interventions are effective at improving adherence to medication and improving patients’ health via a systematic review of 15 studies with 3,739 participants.

Digital interventions included automated personalized text messages, interactive websites, mobile health apps and automated phone calls.

The research showed about 83% of these interventions improved patients’ adherence to medication. Just over half were linked to improvements in patients’ health, including improvements in asthma control, quality of life and lung function as well as fewer missed school days.

“Although there remains a need for larger randomized controlled trials with consistent adherence baseline and outcome measurement, the state of the current literature suggests that both digital stand-alone intervention and interventions combining digital technology with support from a health care team member are promising,” authors wrote.

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