Allergy Partners releases smartphone app for patient use
Asheville, North Carolina, July 5, 2016- There is now a mobile app for patients, integrated within Allergy Partners’ Patient Portal and EMR, which provides customized, interactive coaching for the patient’s specific condition and helps track medications, allergy injections, triggers, and symptoms.
APpal, developed by URXmobile System (www.urxmobile.com) with input from Allergy Partners physicians, boasts new technology that will ideally improve the health of patients. Through the interactivity of alerts, educational information and videos, as well as proactive modules on topics covering allergies and asthma, patients quickly realize the full potential of the app. Essentially, as the patient utilizes and interacts with the app, the better it gets to know the patient and can assist with ongoing support for treatment plans. Alerts and content are personalized and take into account a variety of factors specific to the individual user that occurs over time. “We’re not just telling a user to ‘use your inhaler properly’, rather, we’re explaining it in a very human way that is much more appealing to people.” said David Thompson, CEO URXmobile.
In a recent article published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, researchers from the Scripps Clinic evaluated the usefulness of a mobile app in the management of asthma. Working with URXmobile, the researchers developed a minimally intrusive smartphone app designed to provide individualized and timely educational support to patients with asthma. The education was based on the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines. Sixty adult patients with poorly controlled asthma were provided the app for a 4 month period. The Asthma Control Test (ACT), a standardized and validated measure of asthma control, was performed before, during, and after app use. Additionally, changes in lung function and use of systemic steroids (for example, prednisone) were assessed before and during use of the app. Finally, a patient satisfaction survey asked patients about their experience with the app.
The study found that use of the app led to the following:
1. Improved asthma control as ACT scores improved from 16.6 (inadequate to poor control) to 20.5 (controlled)
2. Improved lung function with a 7.9% increase in FEV1 (measure of lung function)
3. Fewer asthma flares with a reduction in steroid use from 0.5 to 0.3 courses per 6 month period
4. Patient surveys showed that patients found the app to be very easy to use, personalized, and helped them manage their asthma better.
Available on iOS and Android, APpal is free to Allergy Partners’ patients and its use is highly encouraged. App technology provides an extension of care beyond the office visit that encourages adherence to treatment plans discussed between the patient and their physician. Being able to document symptoms and triggers as they occur, having a personalized coach to assist with using an inhaler, as an example, taking self-assessments between visits and having the option to message the office directly from the app, is an irreplaceable value to being a patient of Allergy Partners. As one patient stated, “When I moved to a new city, my asthma was out of control and I tried various medicines but many times forgot to take those meds consistently. So when I would have a flare-up, I would blame it on the fact I wasn’t consistent with my meds. But me and my doctor realized that something else was going on that was causing these flare-ups. We did an allergy test and found out that I was allergic to many external factors and that allergy shots were the best method for me. Without monitoring my asthma routinely using the app, I don’t know how long it would have taken me to say enough was enough. The app was the driving factor that helped me progress in finding a solution for my asthma problems.” Always striving to provide the latest advancements in diagnosis and treatments, the new APpal app is no exception for the leaders in allergy and asthma care.
A soft launch among 700 Allergy Partners’ patients has yielded glowing reviews and allowed even more enhancements to be completed before making it available to all. “I really liked how it became more customized the more I used it,” said one patient. Another testimonial from a current user states, “My asthma is better controlled now than it’s been for 20 years. I had no idea that I was overusing my rescue inhaler and I’m an RN with 32 years of experience. I just figured that I had the worst asthma and would never obtain the results I have now.”
Allergy Partners, PLLC is the nation’s largest allergy, asthma and immunology practice. Their network of 56 primary practice locations spans 23 states and encompasses over 133 total locations of care. Allergy Partners currently employs approximately 134 full- and part-time allergists and immunologists, 27 mid-level providers and over 900 practice employees. As Allergy Partners’ reputation continues to grow, the group remains committed to their vision and to bringing only the best physicians and practices into their care network.