Study Shows Texting Increases Asthma Adherence in Adolescents

With adherence as such a major part of asthma management, the University of Rochester studied a potential mobile phone platform that can increase user adherence, specifically in adolescents. The platform is used to monitor symptoms and their parents can receive relevant updates throughout the day. The study found that the platform was accepted by most adolescents as a way to manage their asthma and could be implemented in the future.

“Purpose: Adolescents report high asthma-related morbidity that can be prevented by adequate self-management of the disease. Therefore, there is a need for a developmentally appropriate strategy to promote effective asthma self-management. Mobile phone-based technology is portable, commonly accessible, and well received by adolescents. The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a comprehensive mobile phone-based asthma self-management aid for adolescents (mASMAA) that was designed to facilitate symptom monitoring, treatment adherence, and adolescent–parent partnership. The system used state-of-the-art natural language-understanding technology that allowed teens to use unconstrained English in their texts, and to self-initiate interactions with the system.

Materials and methods: mASMAA was developed based on an existing natural dialogue system that supports broad coverage of everyday natural conversation in English. Fifteen adolescent–parent dyads participated in a 2-week trial that involved adolescents’ daily scheduled and unscheduled interactions with mASMAA and parents responding to daily reports on adolescents’ asthma condition automatically generated by mASMAA. Subsequently, four focus groups were conducted to systematically obtain user feedback on the system. Frequency data on the daily usage of mASMAA over the 2-week period were tabulated, and content analysis was conducted for focus group interview data.

Results: Response rates for daily text messages were 81%–97% in adolescents. The average number of self-initiated messages to mASMAA was 19 per adolescent. Symptoms were the most common topic of teen-initiated messages. Participants concurred that use of mASMAA improved awareness of symptoms and triggers, promoted treatment adherence and sense of control, and facilitated adolescent–parent partnerships.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates the utility and user acceptability of mASMAA as a potential asthma self-management tool in a selective group of adolescents. Further research is needed to replicate the findings in a large group of adolescents from sociodemographically diverse backgrounds to validate the findings.”

Download the whole study here.

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