Background: In the traditional asthma management protocol, a child meets with a clinician infrequently, once in 3 to 6 months, and is assessed using the Asthma Control Test questionnaire. This information is inadequate for timely determination of asthma control, compliance, precise diagnosis of the cause, and assessing the effectiveness of the treatment plan. The continuous monitoring and improved tracking of the child’s symptoms, activities, sleep, and treatment adherence can allow precise determination of asthma triggers and a reliable assessment of medication compliance and effectiveness. Digital phenotyping refers to moment-by-moment quantification of the individual-level human phenotype in situ using data from personal digital devices, in particular, mobile phones. The kHealth kit consists of a mobile app, provided on an Android tablet, that asks timely and contextually relevant questions related to asthma symptoms, medication intake, reduced activity because of symptoms, and nighttime awakenings; a Fitbit to monitor activity and sleep; a Microlife Peak Flow Meter to monitor the peak expiratory flow and forced exhaled volume in 1 second; and a Foobot to monitor indoor air quality. The kHealth cloud stores personal health data and environmental data collected using Web services. The kHealth Dashboard interactively visualizes the collected data.
Objective: The objective of this study was to discuss the usability and feasibility of collecting clinically relevant data to help clinicians diagnose or intervene in a child’s care plan by using the kHealth system for continuous and comprehensive monitoring of child’s symptoms, activity, sleep pattern, environmental triggers, and compliance. The kHealth system helps in deriving actionable insights to help manage asthma at both the personal and cohort levels. The Digital Phenotype Score and Controller Compliance Score introduced in the study are the basis of ongoing work on addressing personalized asthma care and answer questions such as, “How can I help my child better adhere to care instructions and reduce future exacerbation?”
Methods: The Digital Phenotype Score and Controller Compliance Score summarize the child’s condition from the data collected using the kHealth kit to provide actionable insights. The Digital Phenotype Score formalizes the asthma control level using data about symptoms, rescue medication usage, activity level, and sleep pattern. The Compliance Score captures how well the child is complying with the treatment protocol. We monitored and analyzed data for 95 children, each recruited for a 1- or 3-month-long study. The Asthma Control Test scores obtained from the medical records of 57 children were used to validate the asthma control levels calculated using the Digital Phenotype Scores.
Results: At the cohort level, we found asthma was very poorly controlled in 37% (30/82) of the children, not well controlled in 26% (21/82), and well controlled in 38% (31/82). Among the very poorly controlled children (n=30), we found 30% (9/30) were highly compliant toward their controller medication intake—suggesting a re-evaluation for change in medication or dosage—whereas 50% (15/30) were poorly compliant and candidates for a more timely intervention to improve compliance to mitigate their situation. We observed a negative Kendall Tau correlation between Asthma Control Test scores and Digital Phenotype Score as −0.509 (P<.01).
Conclusions: kHealth kit is suitable for the collection of clinically relevant information from pediatric patients. Furthermore, Digital Phenotype Score and Controller Compliance Score, computed based on the continuous digital monitoring, provide the clinician with timely and detailed evidence of a child’s asthma-related condition when compared with the Asthma Control Test scores taken infrequently during clinic visits.
& Sheth, A.
(2018). “How Is My Child’s Asthma?” Digital Phenotype and Actionable Insights for Pediatric Asthma. JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting, 11 (2).