Healthcare in your pocket

From watching your favourite TV show on the go, to managing your bank account via an app, mobile technology has changed the way we live and work. We are dedicated to supporting patients beyond the medicines we provide and believe that digital technology has an important role to play in this. This is why we are working to develop apps that have the potential to help people manage their health on the go.

  • 165,000

    The number of health-related apps

There are 4 million apps available worldwide.1 Of these around 165,000 are health-related and the number is growing.2 Healthcare is one of the biggest mobile trends – the number of healthcare apps has doubled in recent years,2 increasing by more than any other type of app.3

Enabling asthma self management with an app

One area in which we are working to develop apps is respiratory disease. For many people living with asthma, checking the weather forecast, keeping on top of medications, tracking symptoms, booking appointments with their doctor or nurse – all on top of going to work, school, looking after family – is part of day-to-day life. Asthma is a condition that can worsen at any moment, so being able to assess and record symptoms on the move is important. That’s why we’ve worked with experts in digital healthcare technology to develop MyAsthma, a smartphone app designed to help people with asthma take control of their condition.

MyAsthma app

MyAsthma uses mobile technology to provide personalised information. It helps people with asthma record data about their condition and understand how they may better manage their asthma. For example, it allows people to track their symptoms and compare this information with weather, pollution, pollen and activity data so they can spot patterns and identify triggers for their asthma attacks.

MyAsthma is also designed to connect to other health and wellness apps, and in doing so can help integrate asthma mangement into other parts of people’s lives.  

As Kai Gait, Global Digital Director at GSK explains, “Apps are becoming increasingly sophisticated and as more people use them to help manage their health, we found that people wanted to connect their health and fitness apps together. We designed MyAsthma so you can connect it with leading wearable devices and popular fitness apps, bringing your data together to understand how asthma may affect your daily activities and sleep. Overlay this with environmental data and information relating to your asthma triggers, and MyAsthma will give you relevant information to help inform how you manage your disease.”

Apps are becoming increasingly sophisticated and as more people use them to manage their health, we found that people wanted to connect their apps together.

Available in the UK to start with, MyAsthma is the first stand-alone, mobile medical device app developed by a pharmaceutical company to be “CE marked”. The CE mark shows that MyAsthma has been developed to meet European legislation for medical device software.  This means that people with asthma and healthcare professionals can be confident that MyAsthma has been robustly designed and tested.

Research in a digital age

For our scientists too, digital technology, such as apps, is changing the way they work. Since 2014 we’ve been transforming the way we do research using digital technologies to improve the efficiency of our research, and patient care. Using data collected through wearable tech, remote biosensors and mobile health tools, scientists are able to look at data relating to a patient’s physiology and behaviour, which has the potential to improve our understanding of a disease or a patient’s response to medication.

Apps such as MyAsthma also have the potential to play an important role in research. Working with our partners at the Nottingham Respiratory Research Unit, based at the University of Nottingham in the UK, we are exploring how MyAsthma can help us understand more about asthma and how healthcare apps can have an impact on how people manage their health.   

Looking to the future

Digital technology and the ability to manage our health on the move represents an opportunity to pursue a whole new way of managing our health.  In countries where healthcare infrastructure is lacking, apps have the potential to improve access to healthcare management. Mobile phone technology has a significant part to play in this digital healthcare revolution and, for GSK, it is changing the way we are supporting patients and stretching patient care beyond our medicines.

References

  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/276623/number-of-apps-available-in-leading-app-stores/ [Last accessed: 19 December 2016]
  2. IMS Institute of Healthcare Informatics report on Patient Adoption of mHealth, 2015
  3. http://mhealthintelligence.com/news/mhealth-app-market-sees-400-million-growth-in-five-years [Last accessed: 19 December 2016]