Future 50: Orbital Global asthma app takes off

The MySpira asthma-training app from Orbital Global

Orbital Global's MySpira app uses augmented reality to teach asthmatic children how to use their inhalers properly - Credit: Orbital Global

Stowmarket-based Orbital Global has developed a revolutionary asthma-training app - and the first clinical commissioning groups to adopt it are based in the East of England. 


The Future 50 programme is supported by the partner businesses - Credit: Archant

The augmented-reality app aims to teach children how to use their inhalers correctly - as research shows that 97% of young asthma sufferers don't use the breathing aids correctly. It's vital that they do: a separate study showed that in areas where inhaler-training programmes have been put in place, emergency hospital admissions for asthma attacks fell by 50% and asthma deaths by 75%.

Supported by healthcare experts, including Dr. Simon Rudland and asthma nurse, Karyn McBride, MySpira was developed by innovative digital specialists, Orbital Global in conjunction with University of Suffolk via a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

The free-to-download app aims to be a fun way for asthmatic children to learn the skills needed to manage their condition. After the first two modules, further content is behind a paywall - and now five CCGs are geared up to provide patients with redeem codes, unlocking all of the stages of MySpira.  

"It's perfect for the generation of children growing up in today’s digital world," says Hayden Allen-Vercoe, COO of Orbital Global. "Used alongside a child’s existing asthma care plan, the app is a valuable resource that helps the whole family understand asthma better and know what to do, should an attack occur."

 Hayden Allen-Vercoe, COO of Orbital Global

Hayden Allen-Vercoe, COO of Orbital Global. The Future 50 company worked with asthma specialists to develop the MySpira app - Credit: Orbital Global/Rosie Parsons Photography

MySpira uses a combination of augmented reality and game play to train correct inhaler technique. Research by University of Suffolk found that MySpira outperformed other learning materials, including leaflets and videos, especially in children aged between six and nine years.

Dr Sooraj Natarajan, GP clinical lead for the Mid and South Essex Children and Young Peoples Growing Well Board, comments: "The beauty of the MySpira app is that we can introduce it to children at their asthma review and they can then download it at home to learn and practice their inhaler technique, resulting in better control of asthma and hence fewer serious or fatal attacks.”

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Refresh training should take place when required according to a child’s asthma plan, or annually.

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