Suffolk Primary Care has partnered with health-tech startup Aide Health for a 12-month programme to support patients with asthma and improve preventer inhaler use, stopping the overuse of reliever inhalers.
Asthma death rates in the UK are amongst the highest in Europe.
Reliever inhalers (short-acting beta2-agonist or SABA), which, unlike preventer inhalers, do not treat the underlying causes of asthma, are being overused across the UK. Research suggests that 83% of all SABA inhalers are prescribed to asthmatic patients who are potentially overusing the reliever medication.
The prescription of three or more SABA inhalers per year is considered poor asthma control, yet this applies to over one in three (38%) of users in the UK. At the same time, there is a lack of education surrounding preventer inhalers, which, if used correctly each day, can suppress inflammation that leads to an increased risk of asthma exacerbations.
Using natural language, Aide has short, daily conversations with patients to help them manage their asthma day-to-day by reminding them when and how to use their preventer inhaler. In turn, this should reduce the need to use the SABA inhaler.
Aide demonstrated its success in a recent NHS pilot in North Yorkshire, targeted at those with asthma or type 2 diabetes, where Aide users achieved an average adherence of 75%. This is significantly greater than the 40-50% average adherence to medication in general.
Aide also helps patients track their symptoms, and any agreed monitoring, such as peak flow, provides structured education and improves shared decision-making between the clinician and patient.
Supporting over 130,000 patients across nine GP practices, Suffolk Primary Care hopes the partnership with Aide will help its practices to continue to meet and exceed the appropriate level of SABA inhaler dispensing whilst creating a positive change in the SABA/preventer inhaler dispensing ratio.
Dr. Neil Macey, Medical Director at Suffolk Primary Care, said:
We are pleased to be partnering with Aide to give our patients the opportunity to use technology to improve the way they manage their asthma. We hope that it will help to enhance the lives of patients living with asthma across Suffolk, whilst also increasing their knowledge of the condition and confidence in managing it successfully.
About Suffolk Primary Care
Suffolk Primary Care is an innovative partnership of GP Surgeries in Suffolk covering 130,000 patients. Doctors and practice staff share resources and work together to ensure patients continue to receive high-quality health care.
About Aide Health
Launched in 2021, Aide Health is a digital health service that helps patients and their clinicians better understand and manage long-term conditions. The service connects a browser-based tool for the clinician (enabling the creation and remote monitoring of Health Plans for people with chronic disease) with a mobile app for the patient, which serves as a 24/7 companion through prescribed care.