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Adherence and health behaviours, can wearables help? 

Continuous monitoring like never before

The growing connectivity in the world provides a substantial potential of digital innovations for management of various diseases – including asthma1. However, this global digitalization is not reflected in routine care, because of multiple barriers, resulting in underutilization of digital technologies in health care2. Today, a large proportion of the world’s population own a smartwatch or fitness bands, which provides the potential for continuous monitoring of digital biomarkers and providing valuable insights that may enhance clinical decision-making. 

What are digital biomarkers?

A digital biomarker is defined as an objective parameter and indicator of normal biological, and pathological processes obtained by a digital device such as smartwatches or fitness bands. It could capture behavioral and physiological data, for example heart rate, physical activity and step counts.

Predicting exacerbationpossible clues

Various applications of digital biomarkers in asthma management have been investigated, including monitoring treatment efficacy, patient stratification, and shared decision-making3. In asthma, prediction of exacerbations would be crucial for patient outcomes and digital interventions can make a significant impact by providing early warning signs and improving patient awareness. For example, have changes in activity levels4, heart rate5, nocturnal cough6, and sleep quality6 been shown to be predictors of future exacerbations. However, clinical trials and real-world evidence of the potential of digital biomarkers is needed to leverage digital technologies transformation in asthma care on a strong scientific foundation.    

Making best use of digital biomarkers

In conclusion, integrating digital health technologies into asthma management to enhance patient monitoring, predict exacerbations, and improve outcomes have great potential. But stronger evidence of efficacy and effectiveness is needed to facilitate a broader discussion on how digital innovations can shape the future of asthma care. 

Written by

Emil Bojsen-Møller

Medical Science Liaison, Chiesi Nordic

References 

  1. Sim I. Mobile Devices and Health. N Engl J Med. 2019 Sep 5;381(10):956–68.  
  2. Borges Do Nascimento IJ, Abdulazeem H, Vasanthan LT, Martinez EZ, Zucoloto ML, Østengaard L, et al. Barriers and facilitators to utilizing digital health technologies by healthcare professionals. npj Digit Med. 2023 Sep 18;6(1):161.  
  3. Bousquet J, Shamji MH, Anto JM, Schünemann HJ, Canonica GW, Jutel M, et al. Patient-centered digital biomarkers for allergic respiratory diseases and asthma: The ARIA-EAACI approach – ARIA-EAACI Task Force Report. Allergy. 2023;78(7):1758–76.  
  4. Moy ML, Teylan M, Weston NA, Gagnon DR, Garshick E. Daily Step Count Predicts Acute Exacerbations in a US Cohort with COPD. PLoS One. 2013 Apr 4;8(4):e60400.  
  5. Al Rajeh AM, Aldabayan YS, Aldhahir A, Pickett E, Quaderi S, Alqahtani JS, et al. Once Daily Versus Overnight and Symptom Versus Physiological Monitoring to Detect Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2020 Nov 13;8(11):e17597.  
  6. Tinschert P, Rassouli F, Barata F, Steurer-Stey C, Fleisch E, Puhan MA, et al. Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality to Assess Asthma Control and Predict Attacks. J Asthma Allergy. 2020 Dec 14;13:669–78.  

ID 7412-18.03.2018