Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research

Digital smart inhalers in the community for children and young people with poorly controlled asthma

Understanding whether children supported by digital smart inhalers have fewer asthma attacks

Children with asthma in the UK often have attacks often triggered by viral infections and allergies. Most of these attacks can be prevented with regular treatment, but families and children with asthma need support to manage their condition at home.  Digital health may be able to help.

Digital smart inhalers can be fitted to a child’s regular inhalers to track use. The information collected can be viewed on the family’s smartphone and shared with the child’s medical team. This information can be used to support families to look after their child’s asthma treatment by sending reminders and providing education on asthma. Before the NHS funds such a service, evidence is needed to show that this helps children with asthma.   Families and children have helped us plan the study and are advising the running of the study as we go along.

This study will find children with poorly controlled asthma and recent asthma attacks registered with participating GP practices. These children will be invited for a review in the community and nurses in the clinic will offer them some easy lung function tests. The nurses will test how well the child takes their inhaler, provide some teaching and explain to the child and their family how to keep their asthma under control.  This will be written on an action plan. They will then fit a smart inhaler to the child’s regular inhalers.

The researchers will ask families and children with asthma and also GPs and nurses whether they find the smart inhaler monitoring useful and how it can be improved. The study will find out whether children supported by smart inhalers have fewer asthma attacks. The findings will tell us whether smart inhalers help children and families treat asthma better and whether they should be offered as part of routine NHS care.

Key People

Erol Gaillard

Erol Gaillard

David Lo

David Lo

Principal Investigator Investigator
Based at: University of Leicester Based at: University of Leicester
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headshot of Hilary Pinnock

Hilary Pinnock

Based at: University of Edinburgh
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January – December 2023


This study is funded by the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare, an Accelerated Access Collaborative initiative in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and Asthma + Lung UK.

Project Partners

Adherium Europe Limited, creators of the Hailie® sensor technology

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Helicon HealthLimited
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