Background: Asthma is a common chronic pediatric disease that can negatively impact children and families. Self-management strategies are challenging to adopt but critical for achieving positive outcomes. Mobile health technology may facilitate self-management of pediatric asthma, especially as adolescents mature and assume responsibility for their disease.
Objective: This study aimed to explore the perceptions of youths with high-risk asthma and their caregivers on the use of a smartphone app, Smartphone Asthma Management System, in the prevention and treatment of asthma symptoms, possible use of the app to improve self-management of asthma outside traditional clinical settings, and the impact of asthma on everyday life to identify potential needs for future intervention development.
Methods: Key informant interviews were completed with parent-child dyads post participation in an asthma management feasibility intervention study to explore the perceptions of users on a smartphone app designed to monitor symptoms and medication use and offer synchronous and asynchronous provider encounters. A thematic qualitative analysis was conducted inductively through emergent findings and deductively based on the self-determination theory (SDT), identifying 4 major themes.
Results: A total of 19 parent-child dyads completed the postintervention interviews. The major themes identified included autonomy, competence, relatedness, and the impact of asthma on life. The participants also shared their perceptions of the benefits and challenges associated with using the app and in the self-management of asthma. Both children and parents conveyed a preference for using technology to facilitate medication and disease management, and children demonstrated a strong willingness and ability to actively engage in their care.
Conclusions: Our study included support for the app and demonstrated the feasibility of enhancing the self-management of asthma by youth in the community. Participant feedback led to intervention refinement and app improvements, and the use of the SDT allowed insight into motivational drivers of behavioral change. The use of mobile apps among high-risk children with asthma and their parents shows promise in improving self-management, medication adherence, and disease awareness and in reducing overall disease morbidity.