Io Chi-Yan Hui

Headshot of Io Hui
PhD Title
Developing, refining and piloting an integrated IT application to support asthma self-management
Funded by
Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Department of Health
Prof Hilary Pinnock, Prof Brian McKinstry/ Dr Rob Walton (Edinburgh/QMUL)
Based at
University of Edinburgh

App for asthma (A4A): Developing, refining and testing a smart phone app to support asthma self-management

Self-management with an action plan, as opposed to passive self-monitoring, improves health outcomes.  Mobile technology is an option for supporting asthma self-management. 

My study aims to use four prospective: clinical, patient, technology/market and legislation, to develop a prototype app, explore if it is feasible to use mobile apps to support people to look after their asthma and find out which features attracted patients to download and continue to use the asthma app. 

Firstly, from my clinical studies review and online discussion forums review, it showed that apps are a safe way to support asthma self-management for adults. Logging (peak flow, medication and asthma symptom) features are common in the asthma app market, only a few have an asthma action plans.

Secondly, I consulted patients, GPs and asthma nurses to help me develop a prototype app.

Thirdly, 111 patients used our app prototype for three months. 15 patients were sampled to the pre&post study interview. 16 healthcare professionals from five practices took part in the interview. I observed, the adoption rate from social media and practices invitation; also the usage rate of the app. The results show that advanced features such as predicting high risk of attacks, identifying triggers, and helping them find out what affected their asthma were also ‘wanted’ by patients. Practice engagement is the key to keep patients self-managing their asthma with an app.

In conclusion, mobile apps can support people to look after their asthma, but one size does not fit all.   Flexible designs will enable apps to meet the needs of a broader range of patients.

What’s next? A4A connect+

In the year of 2019, we have won the CSO/Asthma UK Innovation grant to find out more about using emerging technologies such as IoT devices to help people to look after their asthma. In the year of 2020, we will use the MRC CiC funding to implement our IoT system in a primary care practice.

Want to find out more or want to work with us? Please email me at 


About me

BEng (Hons), MSc, PhD, MIET

My research interest: I am interested in the topics about digital health, intelligent system design, user’s adoption and adherence to technology. Particularly interested in design and build works to support asthma self-management. 



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 Asocc 2017;24:619-632 (Link)

 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. (Link)

 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 (Link)


Research activities (conferences, congress, annual scientific meeting)

  • Oral: Primary Care Respiratory Society UK UK Annual Conference, Northampton, 16-17/10/2015
  • Poster: CPHS Annual research day, 06/05/2015
  • Oral: Primary Care Respiratory Society UK National Primary Care Respiratory Conference (PCRS) UK Annual Conference), Northampton , 16-17/10/2015
  • Oral: AUKCAR Annual Scientific Meeting, Manchester, 10-11/11/2015
  • Oral: NADEGS 2016 meeting,  Carnoustie, 22/01/2016
  • Poster: CPHS Annual research day, 03/05/2016
  • Oral: The International Primary Care Respiratory Group World Conference (IPCRG), Amsterdam, 25-28/05/2016
  • Oral: Primary Care Respiratory Society UK National Primary Care Respiratory Conference (PCRS) UK Annual Conference), Telford , 13-15/10/2016
  • Oral: AUKCAR Annual Scientific Meeting, Edinburgh, 08-09/11/2016
  • Poster: Informatics for Health 2017, Manchester, 24-26/04/2017
  • Poster: ERS International Congress 2017, Milan, 09-13/09/2017
  • Oral: Primary Care Respiratory Society UK National Primary Care Respiratory Conference (PCRS) UK Annual conference, Telford , 28-30/09/2017
  • Oral: Joint AUKCAR/Mechanisms Centre meeting 2017, London, 20-21/09/2017
  • Oral and poster: British Computer Science Conference 2017,  Edinburgh, 3-4/10/2017


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


© 2015 AUKCAR