Asthma is a common chronic disease with various clinical presentations. Although most patients are able to reach good asthma control, some patients are not able to reach sufficient asthma control following the regular treatment guidelines and could be referred to high-altitude climate therapy (HACT). HACT includes environmental trigger avoidance in the alpine climate with multidisciplinary clinical treatment. Patients with severe and difficult-to-control asthma, who are unable to reach asthma control at sea level, can follow a 12-week lung rehabilitation program at 1600 m above sea level. Mobile health (mHealth) tools can be used to enhance self-management in these patients when they return home. For an mHealth system to be effective, it must meet the expectations of the end users.
In this Davos@home study, we explored the attitudes toward mHealth aimed at supporting the self-management of patients with severe, difficult-to-control asthma who underwent HACT and asthma health care providers.
In the first stage, interviews with referrers to HACT and focus groups with patients with asthma who participated in or completed HACT were conducted. The data were then analyzed thematically. On the basis of these results, a questionnaire was developed. In the second stage of the study, this questionnaire, combined with the Asthma Control Questionnaire and the Individual Innovativeness Questionnaire, was provided to patients who completed HACT.
In total, 11 interviews and 3 focus groups (n=18, age 47.6, SD 12.1 years, Asthma Control Questionnaire score 2.6, SD 1.0) were conducted. A total of 3 themes were identified: potential goals, useful measurements, and perceived barriers and facilitators. The questionnaire developed in stage 2 included items based on these results. The most agreed-upon goal among the 52 patients who completed the questionnaire was to increase their asthma control (45/52, 86% of the patients).
Different patients reported that they would benefit the most from different functionalities. Therefore, it is important to tailor functionalities to individual (treatment) goals. When developing an mHealth intervention, it is important to allow personalization to avoid overwhelming the users.