Revolutionary asthma app to be rolled out across Suffolk


A pioneering augmented reality asthma training app, which could substantially improve inhaler technique and save children’s lives, is being rolled out across Suffolk health care and education settings by Suffolk Public Health and Orbital Media. MySpira, the world’s first metered dose inhaler training app to utilise the new augmented reality functionality released by Google (AR Core) and Apple (AR Kit), will be available in Suffolk for free until 1st April 2020, promoted via local hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies and primary schools across the county. 

Research suggests that 97% of children misuse their inhaler.[i] To help reduce the likelihood of serious or fatal asthma attacks occurring in children, MySpira aims to improve the training of correct inhaler technique, using a combination of augmented reality and game play. 

In a recent study[ii] of 96 children aged 6 – 13, a steady increase of information recall was observed with the MySpira app, over traditional asthma / inhaler education methods, such as leaflets and videos. Specifically, MySpira demonstrated an overall score that was 26% better than videos and 70% better than leaflets.   

Paul Brown, CEO of Suffolk Primary Care, comments, ‘Research has shown that, when asthma sufferers use their inhalers incorrectly, less than 5% of the medicine reaches where it’s needed in the lungs.[iii] Where proper inhaler training programmes have been put in place, however, emergency admissions have been reduced by 50% and asthma deaths by 75%[iv]. We hope that the introduction of MySpira across Suffolk Public Health services will not only improve technique and compliance, and therefore increased health, but will also result in fewer serious or fatal asthma attacks in the county’. 

Cllr James Reeder, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention, said: ‘By launching the MySpira app in Suffolk, the county is leading the way in pioneering asthma management and technology. The app teaches children vital skills to help manage their asthma condition in a fun and engaging way, which involves the whole family so parents, siblings and friends also know what to do should an attack occur. 

‘We are working closely with services across the health care system as well as in education settings in Suffolk to promote the app as a valuable resource to use alongside a child’s existing asthma care plan.’ 

MySpira introduces likable characters and tactile interactions, to engage children who have asthma with games that the child can play with parents, siblings or friends.  Throughout the enjoyable 20-minute experience, the child is taught about asthma keywords, triggers, different types of inhalers, how to prepare the inhaler and spacer, and how to inhale the medicine correctly. 

Supported by local healthcare experts from Suffolk Primary Care, including Dr. Simon Rudland and asthma nurse, Karyn McBride, the app was developed by innovative digital specialists, Orbital Media in conjunction with University of Suffolk via a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. 

Peter Brady, CEO of Orbital Media, comments, ‘Our vision for MySpira is to educate children about correct inhaler technique to, ultimately, cut the number of preventable child deaths. 21st Century children are digital natives, so it makes perfect sense to use technology as a means of educating and engaging them about their health. We are hugely excited to be at the forefront of this and hope that MySpira will help reduce the number asthma attacks in children across Suffolk. If adopted nationwide, MySpira could make a huge impact, dramatically reducing the number of emergency cases and hospitalisations across the UK, as well as saving the NHS millions of pounds.’ 

The app will supplement a child’s ongoing asthma care plan and will help parents and siblings to understand asthma better. Refresh training should take place when required according to a child’s asthma plan, or annually.

MySpira is available to download from the App Store and Google Play for free until 1st April 2020. After this period, it will be priced at 99p

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