December 20, 2012 | Healthcare
The Verizon Foundation Supports Efforts by Children's National Medical Center for Asthma Management with Mobile Technology
The Verizon Foundation supports the Children's National Medical Center's work to educate parents and provide the tools they need to manage their child's asthma symptoms more effectively.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic medical conditions among children in the United States today, affecting one in ten children. Over 14 million missed school days are attributed to asthma each year.
One challenge the pediatric medical community faces is helping parents understand that asthma is a chronic medical condition which needs daily management. Working with medical providers to identify early warning signs, understanding the specific triggers and developing a medication plan can make a difference in keeping emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations to a minimum.
Asthma: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Part of dealing with this challenge lies with the episodic nature of asthma’s symptoms, which means ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for many parents.
A common sentiment heard from parents illustrates the issue:
"They tell me to bring him in every 3-6 months sick or not. And, quite frankly, I haven’t done that. If you call and remind me, I will. But if he’s not sick or he doesn’t need a form for school. I don’t think about it.”
And because asthma disproportionately affects low income and working poor families, proactive management of their child’s disease often takes a back seat to the challenges of daily living - food insecurity, housing, transportation issues and the limited flexibility that often accompanies low wage jobs.
With the support of the Verizon Foundation, the Children’s National Medical Center is giving parents the tools to incorporate the information and tools of asthma management into their busy lives.
Supporting Parents in Washington DC
In the Washington, DC metropolitan area, the team at Children’s National implemented a successful asthma education, medical care and care coordination program named ‘IMPACT DC’ (Improving Pediatric Asthma Care in the District of Columbia).
To further improve parent’s ability to apply what they learned in the IMPACT DC clinic, a health communication intervention was designed to empower parents and improve communication skills with their children’s providers. And with the support of the Verizon Foundation, these efforts are taken a step further.
Mobile Technology Provides Real-Time Solutions
Text2Breathe is a text-messaging intervention program that reinforces what parents have been taught in clinics, sending them important reminders and providing real-time tools they can use to more effectively manage their child’s asthma.
It takes what parents already have in their hands, a mobile phone, and turns it into a resource of empowerment and shared decision-making. By using devices that are already a part of their everyday lives, Children’s National Health Center and the Verizon Foundation are supporting and engaging parents ‘where they are’. Text2Breathe literally puts the power to manage a child’s asthma directly into the hands of their parents.
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