Genberg EM, Viitanen HT, Mäkelä MJ, Kautiainen HJ, Kauppi PM. BMC Pulm Med. 2023 May 12;23(1):165. doi: 10.1186/s12890-023-02467-8.
Digital health technology (DHT) is a growing area in the treatment of chronic diseases. Study results on DHT’s effect on asthma control have been mixed, but benefits have been seen for adherence, self-management, symptoms, and quality of life. The aim was to evaluate the impact of an interactive web-based asthma treatment platform on asthma exacerbations and health care visits.
In this real-life study, we retrospectively collected data on adult patients registered on a web-based interactive asthma treatment platform between December 2018 and May 2021. Patients who activated their accounts were active users, and patients who did not were inactive users and considered as controls. We compared the number of exacerbations, total number of exacerbation events defined as the sum of oral corticosteroid (OCS) and antimicrobial courses, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and asthma-related health care visits before and one year after the registration on the platform. Statistical tests used included the t-test, Pearson’s chi-square test and Poisson regression models.
Of 147 patients registered on the platform, 106 activated their accounts and 41 did not. The active users had significantly fewer total number of exacerbation events (2.56 per person years, relative decline 0.78, 95% CI 0.6 to 1.0) and asthma-related health care visits (2.38 per person years, relative decline 0.84, 95% CI 0.74 to 0.96) than before registration to the platform, whereas the reductions in health care visits and the total number of exacerbation events were not significant in the inactive users.
An interactive web-based asthma platform can reduce asthma-related health care visits and exacerbations when used actively.