Digital Help to Improve Children’s Asthma Extended

Stowmarket-based Orbital Innovations offering free downloads of MySpira for the next year
An innovative asthma training app, developed in Stowmarket, will be available to download for free, nationwide, for the next 12 months to aid children’s self-care of asthma.
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With research suggesting that 97 percent of children misuse their inhaler,[i] MySpira, a pioneering metered dose inhaler training app, uses the latest augmented reality (AR) technology, in combination with game play, to help improve inhaler technique and reduce the likelihood of serious or fatal asthma attacks occurring in children.

In a 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 percent better than videos and 70 percent better than leaflets.  

Peter Brady, CEO of Orbital Innovations, comments, ‘We are passionate about harnessing digital technology to make self-care easier to adopt. Now, more than ever, it is important to look after our own health, especially when it comes to respiratory conditions such as asthma. That’s why we have decided to offer MySpira at no cost for the next 12 months. Making this tool freely available will ensure children have aids for their inhaler use, as well as helping to improve technique, compliance, and ultimately result in fewer serious or fatal asthma attacks. This will also help provide even more vital support at a time when routine nurse and doctors’ appointments are being held virtually or have been cancelled.’

Supporting this free initiative, Paul Brown, CEO of Suffolk Primary Care, comments, ‘Over the winter, this valuable resource was rolled out across Suffolk health care and education settings, promoted via local hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies and primary schools. Used alongside a child’s existing asthma care plan, it has helped children – and their parents and siblings – to understand asthma better. This is a positive step for health services, because we know, from research, that where proper inhaler training programmes have been put in place, emergency admissions due to asthma had reduced by 50 percent, and deaths by 75 percent.[iii].’

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

MySpira supplements a child’s ongoing asthma care plan. 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 2021. After this period, it will be priced at 99p. For more information, visit myspira.com

[i] Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (30 April 2019)

[ii] University of Suffolk study abstract details – 96 children aged 6-13, led by Dr Suha Al-Naimi, May 2019. Statistics are quoted allowing for standard error. Full study due to be published in September 2019.

[iii] https://www.nice.org.uk/sharedlearning/isle-of-wight-respiratory-inhaler-project

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