Objective: To assess feasibility of a novel video directly observed therapy (DOT)-based digital asthma program intended to support correct inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) use among children.
Methods: We conducted a 60-day pilot study among patients 2–18 years attending a primary care clinic with prescribed ICS and sub-optimally controlled asthma (recent hospitalization, ICS nonadherence, frequent rescue inhaler use, therapy escalation, or Asthma Control Test <20). Participants used a mobile application to receive reminders, submit videos of ICS doses (video DOT), and receive asynchronous feedback on adherence and inhaler technique. We assessed enrollment, engagement, program metrics, and user experience; adherence and inhaler errors were secondary outcomes.
Results: Of 26 eligible patients, 21 (81%) enrolled and submitted ≥1 video; median age was 11 years (8–15), 71% were male, 90% had Medicaid, and 62% experienced ≥1 exacerbation in the previous 6 months. Retention was 57% and 52% at week 5 and 8, respectively. Participants submitted 810 videos. Missed doses, inhaler errors (n = 247) and adherence issues (n = 107) prompted 543 communications; inadequate inspiration or holding breath were most common. Among 16 patients with engagement >7 days and >4 videos, median inhaler error rate (proportion of videos with ≥1 error) decreased from week 1 to week 2 (73% vs 8%, p ≤ 0.05) with median adherence >80%. Participants experienced the program as long, but easy to use; benefits included building routines, skill, and independence.
Conclusions: This pilot study suggests high program acceptability among our cohort. High engagement with improved inhaler technique over the first 14 days suggests shorter implementation.