Digital Icon-Based Asthma Action Plan

Rosa Arriaga
Michael Lefco

Currently, 6.8 million children in America have asthma, a disease of the respiratory system that causes inflammation of the airways. An asthma action plan is an individualized health management plan that doctors give to their patients to help control their condition. It functions by illustrating what actions to take at different levels of symptom severity from day-to-day medication use to emergency situations. A problem arises for the caregivers of asthmatic children who may not have the educational background to understand the information in an action plan. These children may be in danger if their caregivers are unsure of the proper actions to take to treat their symptoms. The asthma action plan also serves as a partnership between the caregiver and physician. An action plan that is difficult to understand may degrade this partnership, however, research indicates that better communication between caregivers and physicians can lead to better medication adherence.

Our solution is to develop a digital icon-based asthma action plan (I-BAAP) that can be integrated into patients electronic medical records. The system is composed of a physician portal in which doctors input information relevant to a patient. The portal outputs a link to a responsive web application consisting of the I-BAAP and other features that augment communication between caregivers and physicians. The caregivers can access the web app on their phone, increasing possession of an action plan as compared to paper-based plans which are often lost or misplaced.


We are interested in ubiquitous computing and the research issues involved in building and evaluating ubicomp applications and services that impact our lives. Much of our work is situated in settings of everyday activity, such as the classroom, the office and the home. Our research focuses on several topics including, automated capture and access to live experiences, context-aware computing, applications and services in the home, natural interaction, software architecture, technology policy, security and privacy issues, and technology for individuals with special needs.