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Personal asthma action plan (PAAP)

Developing an app to enable supported self-management for people with asthma.


At the moment, supported self-management incorporating a Personal Asthma Action Plan (PAAP) lets people control their asthma themselves. They can adjust their treatment when their symptoms change, so they have fewer attacks.  

However, only a small number of people get to self-manage because for many reasons, routine asthma self-management care is not offered during routine care.

Asthma patient and doctor

Also, traditional paper-based PAAPs in use just now have limitations – they are too clinically-focussed so do not address the wider challenges of living with asthma.

We think modern smart technology can help. We aimed to develop an app for smart-phones/tablets/laptops as part of an integrated system of care.

This would give people a personalised clinical action plan which would also offer wider non-clinical help too. Producing an app that was attractive, that people would want to continue to use and which met the needs of patients were central to the design of our app.    


To develop, refine and pilot an app for a smart phone with the potential to integrate with cloud-based health records to enable supported self-management for people with asthma.  

Research questions

1. What is the impact of specific features of existing information and communication technology (ICT) interventions designed to support asthma self-management on:

  • adoption of the ICT by patients and/or professionals
  • adherence to use of the ICT by patients and/or professionals
  • process outcomes related to self-management (action plan ownership, self-efficacy)
  • health outcomes (measures of asthma control and/or risk of exacerbations)

2. What are the design principles and associated application features to encourage patient engagement (attract downloads, increase adherence) to perform asthma self-management with an app? Is that feasible to be implemented in the routine care?


We used qualitative and quantitative methods.

We planned, designed and performed a feasibility study on a smartphone app on the uMotif platform by:

  • adopting a person-based approach to digital health-related behaviour change intervention development,
  • combining the inter-related pathways of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Framework of Developing and Evaluating Complex Interventions, and the App Development Roadmap in the Oxford Academic Health Science Network Report.


Results will be available in the autumn of 2018.

What features do patients ‘want’ in a mobile asthma app?: a qualitative study (European Respiratory Journal, 2017)


Funder Chief Scientist Office
Chief investigator Prof Hilary Pinnock
Co-applicants Prof Brian McKinstry, Prof Robert Walton
Study researcher Chi Yan Hui, Io