The Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) initiative has begun utilizing electronic and mobile technology to make care pathways for asthma and rhinitis easily available to patients and providers. The organization—which was chartered under the auspices of the World Health Organization in 1999—created these electronic pathways in order to promote “an active and healthy life to rhinitis sufferers, whatever their age, sex, or socioeconomic status, in order to reduce health and social inequalities incurred by the disease.”
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Jean Bosquet, MD, PhD, professor of pulmonary medicine at University of Montpelier (Montpelier, France), as well as founder and chairman of ARIA, and colleagues have labored to standardize care for patients with allergic rhinitis (AR) and asthma since ARIA’s inception. The researchers believe that the use of readily available technology to inform patients of treatment and management options can improve overall disease control.
Dr Bosquet and colleagues noted that the majority of AR sufferers do not regularly seek medical care because they view their symptoms as normal. Additionally, many rely on over-the-counter medications rather than prescription-strength drugs. This can lead to unmet medical needs within the patient population. “As is the case for asthma, the best control of AR should be achieved as early as possible in order to improve patient satisfaction and concordance with treatment and reduce the AR burden, including symptoms, reduced quality of life, and school/work presenteeism and absenteeism,” they wrote.
ARIA used Information and Communication Technology tools to create the MACVIA-ARIA Sentinel Network (MASK)-rhinitis and asthma applications, in order to easily provide information on these conditions. The system includes a patient-specific survey (The ARIA Allergy Diary) that allows patients to track the impact of their disease and symptoms on daily activities, as well as a companion application (The ARIA Allergy Diary Companion) for health care professionals to utilize. The provider-specific application also includes tools to allow physicians to select appropriate courses of treatment based on disease severity and optimal control goals. The researchers are currently developing tests to measure the pulmonary function of asthma patients.
The researchers reported that a manuscript validating The ARIA Allergy Companion is forthcoming. They continue to develop pathways related to various areas of AR and asthma control, including the appropriate stratification of patients with severe conditions, the management of allergic multimorbidity in older adults, and the improvement of pulmonary health care across the continent.
“ARIA has been disseminated and is implemented in over 70 countries around the world,” the researchers wrote. “[We] are now focusing on the implementation of emerging technologies for individualized and predictive medicine.” – Cameron Kelsall