Incorporating technology to advance asthma controller adherence

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Purpose of review

Technological innovations, including text messaging, smart phone applications, and electronic monitoring devices, aimed at improving asthma controller adherence are being rapidly introduced both into clinical care and directly marketed to patients. This review analyzes recent clinical trials implementing these interventions, with a focus on their benefits and shortcomings.

Recent findings

Poor medication adherence continues to exert significant morbidity on patients with asthma. Objective, real-time measures to monitor adherence can overcome the limitations of prior methods, including self-report and prescription refills. Technological advances, especially those incorporating reminder systems, have demonstrated improved controller adherence. The increased adherence in these trials has not translated into consistent clinical improvement, including reducing hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and asthma exacerbations, possibly secondary to study design and poor inhalation technique.


Novel monitoring and reminder technology can augment patient medication adherence and provide clues to management before escalating therapy. Further studies are needed to investigate the overarching clinical impact of this technology, especially as it grows into routine clinical practice.

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