Healthy London Partnership > News, blogs & videos > Call for teenagers with asthma to co-design NHS app

Call for teenagers with asthma to co-design NHS app

4th March 2020

Today [Wednesday 4 March, 2020], the Digital Health Passport, a personal health record that enables young people to take control of their health by creating asthma action plans, tracking symptoms and accessing NHS support, is calling on 14-25 years olds living with asthma in east London, to help develop the app which is due to be rolled out across London.

Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition affecting children and young people. In the UK, asthma death rates among young people have stopped improving, making it worse than any other European country.

1 in 10 children and young people are affected by the condition, meaning 240,000 have asthma in London. Many have badly managed asthma – to the extent that 4,000 are admitted to hospital with asthma every year and 170 have such a severe episode that they require admission to intensive care. Poorly controlled asthma can also affect every day routines for young people – from the ability to learn, enjoying time outdoors and can even affect sleep.

Young people with a personalised asthma action plan are four times less likely to go to A&E – a key feature of the Digital Health Passport is the action plan from Asthma UK which provides information and advice and can be shared with friends, family and schools, meaning everyone who needs to know how to look after a child’s asthma has an easy way to do it.

Sara Nelson, Deputy Director of Transformation, Children and Young People’s Programme, Healthy London Partnership, said: “Part of our work is to improve asthma standards in London and giving young people a voice in the decision making can have a considerable impact for the management of this long term condition.”

Commissioned by Healthy London Partnership in collaboration with Tiny Medical Apps and co-produced with young people, school nurses, GPs and asthma specialists, the app can be downloaded from the NHS Apps Library by invite only, whilst further refinement takes place with the first users. It is being tested at the Royal London and Barts Hospitals and at Chrisp Street Health Centre in Tower Hamlets.

At a special demonstration event today in east London local teenagers living with asthma will get the opportunity to download and test the free NHS app. They will be able to talk to some of the young people who first used the app as part of a pilot as well as discover how they can be involved and make sure their voice is heard in the development of the app.

This innovative project has been recognised by NHS England as one of only a handful of ‘Personal Health Records’ to be evaluated around the country. It is now being rolled out in Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire with additional features planned to support young people with allergies, epilepsy and other long-term conditions.

Dr Greg Burch, Chief Clinical Information Officer, Tiny Medical App, said: “It’s important that we get as many young people with asthma involved as we can, to help develop the app and feedback about the features they would like to see in the next version.”

Saira, from east London, a Digital Health Passport user said: “As an asthmatic in the last two years I’ve been to A&E twice and if I’m having trouble breathing I can take my phone out and say look at this plan. That would be really handy. The name as a Digital Health Passport is exactly it – you can travel around with it and use it as and when you enter into a service.”

Susan, from east London, Alice’s Mum an app user, said: “We are always trying to encourage Alice to look after her asthma herself and it helps her be independent…..really great as she has been discharged from hospital and the app helps her monitor her asthma and she lets us know how she is getting on”

Anna King, Commercial Director of Health Innovation Network, said: “This is a great example of how digital innovations can help people take control of their own health. I am delighted that Tiny Medical Apps, a company on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme, is working in partnership with the NHS to deliver best for young asthma patients. Young people are especially used to using apps and digital technology in their everyday life, this partnership shows how healthcare is catching up.”

Tiny Medical Apps welcomes ideas from young people aged 14-25 that can be included – for example reminders to take medications, or games that can be incorporated to help learning.

For more information on the project get in touch with paul@tinymedicalapps.com

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