Dr. Patricia Stewart taps into telehealth to improve asthma control

Dr. Patricia Stewart, Associate Professor and Fellowship Program Director of Allergy and Immunology, is leading a research project focused on improving asthma control. The study will use a remote monitoring protocol and will be in collaboration with UMMC’s Telemedicine Center of Excellence and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The study will address barriers to non-adherence with asthma medications, such as an inadequate understanding of asthma treatment (i.e. which medicine to use to treat symptoms vs which to use to prevent symptoms) particularly during asymptomatic periods; poor perception by patients of their symptom severity; and poor technique with inhaler devices.  It has been reported that intervention at each of these various levels with a variety of telemonitoring strategies can improve therapeutic adherence and thus optimize asthma control.  This study will utilize telemedicine-based modalities to optimize therapeutic adherence aimed at improving asthma control in moderate-to-severe persistent asthma patients who have had 2 exacerbations (hospitalizations, emergency department visits and/or unscheduled office visits requiring systemic corticosteroid treatments) in the last 12 months. The study will investigate whether reinforcing proper inhaler technique via Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) improves asthma control in moderate to severe asthma patients.  All participants will be instructed on proper inhaler technique (using the Vitalograph AIM [Aerosol Inhalation Monitor] instrument), along with several other measurements. 

In keeping with the goal of the HRSA initiative, the study will specifically be considering low income patients or those who live in rural areas. One of the primary barriers many patients in these subpopulations face is lack of care in their immediate proximity. The study hopes to demonstrate that remote patient monitoring can not only be a helpful supplement for patients who have difficulty finding local care, but that it also can prove superior to clinic visits alone in patients with moderate to severe asthma.   

Dr. Stewart serves as Principal Investigator. Co-investigators include Gailen Marshall, MD, PhD; Charles Grogan, MD; Andrew Wilhelm, MD; Tearsanee Davis, DNP, FNP-BC; Tanya Tucker, BSN, RN.

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