Project: A4A - APP for Asthma

APP for Asthma project overview image

What features do you want to see in a smartphone/tablet APP to support your self-management?

An observational study asking for patients’ opinions on the development of a new App to support asthma self-management.

The Study

Supported self-management incorporating a Personal Asthma Action Plan (PAAP) helps people control their asthma themselves. They can adjust their treatment when their symptoms change, so they have fewer attacks.

However, few people have a PAAP because for many reasons, routine asthma self-management isn’t always offered during routine care. Also, the traditional paper-based PAAPs in use just now have limitations – people may not have a paper plan with them when they need it and they are too clinically-focussed so cannot address the wider challenges of living with asthma.

We think modern smart technology can help. We aim to develop an app for smart-phones/tablets as part of an integrated system of care. This will give people a PAAP which will also offer wider non-clinical help too. Producing an app that is attractive, that people to continue to use and meets the needs of patients are central to the design of our APP.

When will this study be recruiting?

October 2016 to March 2017

NOTE: Recruitment for this study is now over.  It is no longer possible to join the study

What are participants asked to do?

Participants are asked to download the App and try it. Before and at the end of the study (after 3 months usage), there is a short questionnaire for your opinion.

Who can take part?

Anyone who is living in the UK, is 16 year or over, has been diagnosed with asthma by their doctor; is not under the care of a hospital clinic or been admitted to hospital in the last 3 months for asthma are welcomed.

Who is conducting the research?

Miss Chi Yan Hui, Io will lead the study as part of her PhD research, supervised by Professor Hilary Pinnock and Professor Brian McKinstry in the University of Edinburgh, and Professor Robert Walton in the London Queen Mary University.

How will the study benefit people with asthma?

Using the APP will help you to monitor your asthma, though taking part in this research may not benefit you personally. However being involved in the study will help us to develop a better APP for asthma self-management.

How much does it cost?

The APP is free of charge in the APP’s market; The APP will backup data in the cloud database, however, the quantity of data used by the APP is very small and is unlikely to have a significant effect on your data plan.

Who has reviewed the study?

The study has been reviewed by the South East Scotland Research Ethics Committee 02(06 June 2016).


The study is part of a research programme for the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research. The work is being carried out as the collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and Queen Mary University of London and is funded by the Chief Scientist Office (Scotland).

A$A logo

Publications from the study

  1. Hui CY, Walton R, McKinstry B, Jackson T, Parker R, Pinnock H.  The use of mobile applications to support self-management for people with asthma: a systematic review of controlled studies to identify features associated with clinical effectiveness and adherence. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2017;24:619-632
  2. Hui CY, Walton R, McKinstry B, Vasileiou E, Pinnock H.  What do people with asthma want to see in an asthma self-management app? A review of views expressed in online social discussion forums. Proceedings of the British Computer Science conference (in press)

  3. Hui CY, Walton R, McKinstry B, Pinnock H.  A mixed method observational study of strategies to promote adoption and usage of an application to support asthma self-management. Journal of innovation in health informatics. 2019 Jan 9;25(4):243-53.

  4. Hui CY, Walton R, McKinstry B, Pinnock H.  Time to change the paradigm: a mixed method study of the preferred and potential features of an asthma self-management app. Health Inform J (in press)

Key People

Io Hui
Io Chi-Yan Hui
PhD Student
University of Edinburgh
View profile
Hilary Pinnock Headshot
Hilary Pinnock
Network Coordinator, Lead: Encourage good asthma control, Co-Lead: Postgraduate Training
Robert Walton Headshot
Robert Walton
Professor of Primary Medical Care
Professor Brian McKinstry headshot
Brian McKinstry
Professor of Primary Care E-Health


We are happy to answer your questions about this study!

You can email or call us. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks.

For technical questions about the APP:

For questions about the research:

(+44) 0131 650 3209/ (+44) 0131 650 8102

Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics,
The University of Edinburgh
Rm 815, Old Medical School, Teviot Place
Edinburgh EH8 9AG
United Kingdom


Anyone who is using the A4A app is welcome to post in this forum.

The forum is hosted on a separate site, ProBoards. You will need to register to post.

Visit the forum

This work is funded by the Chief Scientist Office (Scotland) [AUKCAR/14/01].
This work is carried out with the support of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research [AUK-AC-2012-01].

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