According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), approximately 26 million Americans — more than 8% of the population — suffer from asthma. A chronic disease that affects the airways in the lungs, asthma’s symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and tightness in the chest. Attack severity can range from mild to life-threatening. There is no cure for asthma and the economic cost of care and missed days of school and work adds up quickly. In 2010 the CDC estimated the annual cost of asthma in the U.S. was more than $50 billion.

Geisinger and AstraZeneca developed a software app suite to improve asthma care. The app suite has a patient-side mobile app with which asthma sufferers can check asthma-related weather forecasts, log symptoms and asthma attack triggers, track health status over time, set medication reminders, and communicate with caregivers. The mobile app connects to a web-based program, the Provider Asthma Management Assistant. The programs combine remote patient monitoring and care team patient management and also interface with electronic health records (EHRs). With the integrated apps, respiratory therapists and asthma educators can triage patients in real-time and involve specialists when needed.

With one-half of U.S. adults suffering from at least one chronic disease such as asthma and COPD, according to the CDC, the massive challenges of providing patient education and care and the annual economic costs call for new care management solutions. Remote patient monitoring meshed with electronic health records and active care management offer improved care and cost efficiency for the spiraling challenges of chronic disease.