$4.5m tech fund aims to revolutionise asthma self-management

Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation has announced the winners of their $4.5 million asthma tech fund which aims to kick-start a revolution in asthma self-management.

Asthma affects 5.4 million people in the UK and results in around 70,000 hospital admissions and 1,100 deaths every year. It is a common condition that has the potential to be transformed by technology; Asthma UK’s 2016 Connected Asthma report highlighted the possible benefits of smart inhalers, health apps and remote monitoring to reduce asthma attacks and reduce symptoms.

However, four years on, technology options for people with asthma to help them manage their condition are still limited.

The research grants, created in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) aim to fund projects that will revolutionise the way people with asthma are able to manage their condition, prevent asthma attacks and improve their quality of life.

As such, a $4 million fund was created to support the development and adoption of scalable and effective asthma health technologies, from concept stage through to scaling within the NHS.

The winning projects include use of symptom tracking apps, home monitoring systems that detect wheezing in children and the development and the testing of a device which clips on to an inhaler and provides real-time inhaler technique support.

Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and innovation at Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be able to co-fund this industry leading research that will allow people with asthma to manage their symptoms more effectively using technologies that are firmly rooted in the 21st century.

“People with asthma are generally responsible for much of their day-to-day care, often only seeing their GP once a year for an asthma review or in an emergency. Managing multiple asthma triggers and day-to-day changes in asthma symptoms is extremely challenging, but getting it right has the potential to prevent two thirds of asthma deaths.