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Essential information for asthma patients and their families

MA 2022
Asthma, Information gap, Knowledge, Support

E.A.S.E. is the service that provides essential information and immediate support for the UK newly diagnosed non-severe asthmatics and their families to manage and cope with asthmatics events to reduce the death rate of asthma attacks.

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At the beginning of our project, we sent out a questionnaire and received 102 responses which helped us define the scope of our project. Then we conducted 10 interviews and 5 co-creation workshops with asthma patients and their families to figure out the user’s pain points. We found out that most asthmatics panic during asthma attacks and don’t know how to deal with it.

After analysing the research outcome, we noticed that there is an essential information gap in the current NHS system. We uncovered the following insights: Asthmatics and their families lack asthma knowledge; therefore, they may feel hard to deal with asthmatic events. Also, when an asthma attack happens, without any preparation and immediate support can lead asthmatics to make bad decisions. Lastly, asthmatics can easily panic if the medicine is inefficient, and they have no idea what to do next.


The problem with the current asthma information system

To find out why the current services do not provide asthmatics with clear essential information. We looked at existing services such as NHS, Asthma UK, UK Asthma Support Facebook group and other small asthma charities. Then, we explored the advantages and disadvantages of those different channels. We think the main reason is that people receive asthma information from multiple platforms, which might be confusing. Also, the information online is overloaded and sometimes incorrect, which most people find difficult to distinguish. Some channels also lack details and instruction guides, while others have useful information but have limited spread. Ideally, we wanted to ensure that all essential information presented to our users is clear and correct. In addition, to help asthmatics, and their families in the UK to be able to receive information from a single and trusted platform, like NHS.


How might we help non-severe asthmatics and their families to get essential information so as to manage and cope with asthmatic events smoothly?


We created E.A.S.E, which is formed of three different elements; A booklet, emotional cards, and an app. The booklet is used to educate asthmatics and their family with basic essential information about asthma. The emotional cards are designed to eliminate people’s concerns after diagnosis. Our app is focused on supporting users when having an asthma attack and after. If users think they could calm asthma attacks by themselves, we will provide detailed first aid instructions to guide them. We have included the 'ask for help' section that users can show directly to others when they need assistance. After users have successfully calmed their asthma attack, a recording page would pop up. Making a record of each asthma attack allows users to see their long-term progress clearly.


When people first receive asthma diagnosis reports from GP/ asthma nurses, the GP will provide them with our designed asthma toolkit if they have non-severe asthma. It is used to help them quickly get the help they need, right and unified information from NHS, to better manage and cope with asthmatic events. We think the toolkit is a suitable medium for all-aged people to access quickly.

After reading our booklet and emotional cards, users can download our app and check if they have everything they need to prepare before the next asthma attack happens. If a sudden asthma attack occurs, asthmatics can use our app to self-manage it or ask for helps from others. We think the app is a suitable medium in an emergency that users can quickly access no matter where they are. It is necessary for the patient to take a few minutes to do a self-reflection and book an appointment with an asthma nurser/ GP, even if the asthma attack is under control, to reduce the possibility of the next asthma attack happening.


We would like to express our deepest appreciation to those involved in the design process; our project tutor Andrea Edmunds encouraged and guided us throughout the whole design journey. Our project interviewees, Dr Karim and nurse Debera, who shared their professional knowledge with us, and our project participants, Honey, Mandie, Claire, Tianran, Ellen and Kathrina, brought lots of insights and ideas by telling their stories. Lastly, our head of program Clive Grinyer and senior tutor Judah Armani, gave us lots of design feedback to help us further develop our project.

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