Each day 11 people die of asthma in the U.S., and it accounts for one-quarter of all emergency room visits. Since 1980 the asthma death rate overall has increased by 50%.
A new iPhone app called AsthmaMD, which was created by am Pejham (a doctor and researcher) and Salim Madjd, aims to help some of those sufferers. The application let’s them keep a diary of attacks, helping them keep records of the severity of attacks, medications used, etc.
But what’s really interesting about AsthmaMD: users can opt in to share this data anonymously with the service. The data is aggregated and will be shared with researchers. The company says that will help doctors and researchers better understand the disease, and may help people know when an attack is more likely.
In an email, Madjd says:
Just imagine what might be possible now with the data we gather from this app. For example, since we have precise location of patient and the time of their asthma activity we can correlate that against local pollutant count, adverse weather changes, and different type of pollutants. Or imagine if one area in a city shows higher per capita asthma severity than the rest, we can clearly show that in a map and alert the parent of a potential pollutant by a nearby business. Or imagine this data mashed up against a real estate site. For parents or to-be parents they can also look at the asthma activity in any specific area and make more informed decisions about where they want to move.
There is also ability to better understand the effect of different medications, on age groups, gender, on managing asthma caused by different type of triggers from pollutant to exercise, etc.
We can even alert users of higher asthma chances in real time if we detect users of similar asthma history reporting asthma issues. Ultimately we could even send tweeter streams with zipcode or geocode of areas with asthma flare ups on real time. This app has the potential to make an impact on people lives unlike anything we’ve seen before and on personal level is one of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on.
We will see a lot more apps like this in the future. Crowdsourcing is great for fixing pot holes. But it may also give doctors the information they need to better understand a variety of diseases, too.