Project: A4A Connected+

Hand holding mobile phone with light reflecting off it with A4A Connected Plus logo

App for Asthma Connected Plus (A4A+): implementing Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions to support asthma self-management

Self-management is more than self-monitoring

Asthma self-management is far more than logging peak flow and medication use.

Asthma attacks can be triggered by allergies (such as pollen) or viral infections and it is important that everyone with asthma knows what to do if their symptoms or peak flows show that their asthma is getting worse.  An action plan, agreed with their GP or asthma nurse, is therefore a particularly important component of self-management for people with asthma.

Other self-management support includes asthma education, communication with healthcare professions, lifestyle advice, help with medication adherence and (for some people) psychological treatments, and social support.

Connected asthma technology

New technologies such as smart inhalers, smart peak flow meters, pollen or pollution sensors and other smart gadgets connect to the internet to collect and transfer data.  When these emerging technologies work together to help people to manage their asthma, we called them ‘connected asthma’ technology or an internet-of-things (IoT) system’.   Increasingly, artificial intelligence can use all this data and provide feedback and advice to help people and their healthcare advisors to take the right decisions.

What we know

We know that supported self-management for asthma leads to better day to day control of asthma symptoms, less time off work or school and reduces the risk of an asthma attack.

We have identified a number of technological features that could support asthma self-management in a future connected asthma system.  Many people want technology to watch over them ‘silently’ (for example, using a smart inhaler which can watch how often they need rescue medication) so they don’t have to enter symptoms scores or readings every day.

Our programme of work

We aim to design and test the ‘App for Asthma plus’ (A4A+) connected asthma system.   This will be an IoT system that allows people with asthma to choose which devices they connect, if/when they want to share their information (for example with their doctor or nurse), and which is flexible so that new technologies can be connected later.  

We have developed a prototype ‘app’, and asked people with asthma, and clinicians for feedback on A4A+ and how they thought new connected technologies might help. We also looked at whether they trusted the ‘connected asthma’ technology to help them look after their asthma.

We are now developing the platform and will be recruiting patients and clinicians to try out the platform. Recruitment will be opened in autumn/winter 2020.

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Key People

Professor Hilary Pinnock is the Principal Investigator and Dr Io Hui is the Co-Principal Investigator in this project. The team is supported by Professor Brian McKinstry, Mark Buchner (technology partner), Olivia Fulton (patient advisor), Susannah McLean (healthcare professional advisorand Christopher Carlin (healthcare professional advisor), Simon Chapple (IoT advisor)


Hilary Pinnock Headshot
Hilary Pinnock
Lead: Optimising management of asthma attacks, Lead: Postgraduate Training, Network Coordinator
Headshot of Io Hui
Io Chi-Yan Hui
Research Fellow
Professor Brian McKinstry headshot
Brian McKinstry
Professor of Primary Care E-Health
Headshot of Mark Buchner
Mark Buchner
Managing Director, Tactuum
Olivia Fulton headshot
Olivia Fulton
Volunteer PPI Patient Lead
View profile
Christopher Carlin headshot
Christopher Carlin
Consultant Physician and NHS Research Scotland Senior Investigator, Respiratory Medicine, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Device collaborators:

We thank Medical International Research and Smart Respiratory Products Ltd who provided devices for this research, and Findair and Polar Electro (UK) Ltd who provided API support.

Medical International Research, Smart Respiratory Products Ltd, Findair and Polar Electro (UK) Ltd logos

Other collaborator:

We will use the Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI) simulation environment as part of the data interpretation workshop with stakeholders.

Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI) logo

Funders for this programme of work

2019-current Medical Research Council Confidence in Concept

2018-2019 Asthma UK/CSO innovation grant

2014-2018 Chief Scientist Office (CSO) of the Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer (PhD Studentship)

Medical Research Council logo , Asthma UK logo and Chief Scientist Office logo

Contact us

Want to find out more? Please contact Dr Io Hui at

© 2015 AUKCAR