Learning Objective 1: determine the feasibility of a mobile phone-technology, particularly short-messaging service (SMS), in aiding asthma self-management in adolescents.
Learning Objective 2: understand adolescent and parent users' perceptions about the SMS technology regarding acceptability and potential benefits in improving asthma self-management and asthma outcomes.
Methods: Fifteen adolescents (13-17 years) with asthma and their parents participated in the 14-day trial of mASMA. The system automatically texted teen participants six asthma-related questions and customized control medication reminders daily. Teens also submitted daily self-generated text messages to mASMA. Parents received a daily report generated by the system summarizing the information transmitted by the teens. Subsequently, the parents and teens completed a user-acceptance survey and participated in focus groups (two for parents and two for teens) that captured participants’ experience with mASMA.
Results: The teen sample was represented by 40% females and 47% non-white. Most participants (80%) reported uncontrolled asthma. The majority of parents were mothers (80%). Response rates of six daily questions ranged from 81% to 97%. The average number of self-initiated text messages was 19 per person, and the most common content of the messages was related to symptoms (69%) followed by activity (48%) and medications (10%). All parents confirmed the receipt of and briefly responded to the summary reports daily. Overall experience with mASMA was positive in both parents and adolescents who perceived that the system was convenient and easy to use. Participants affirmed that the SMS technology was an attractive and appropriate approach for adolescents. They identified potential benefits of mASMA including: increasing awareness of asthma triggers and symptoms; improving self-management & adherence to medications; improving a sense of control over asthma; access to immediate professional advice on managing symptoms; improving teen-parent communication.
Conclusion: mASMA was successfully implemented and well received by both adolescents and parents who agreed on many potential benefits of the technology in aiding asthma self-management in adolescents.