What they came up with was Asthmapolis, an FDA-approved device that connects a sensor to a typical inhaler and records and sends digital information about the frequency of puffs to a home-stationed pod or an app on a smartphone.
According to Dr. Sanjivan Patel, acting chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, more than a third of patients in the department were diagnosed with asthma in the last year.
“Ridgewood and Bushwick have the highest childhood asthma in New York State,” Patel said, suggesting the reason could either be genetic, environmental or a lack of family involvement.
The program first launched back in March 2013, and doctors are still looking for additional patients and applying for grants to bring it back for another year. Currently there are 31 kids in the Asthmapolis program at the hospital - only one of which visited the hospital since the program started – but Patel said there is room for 100 patients.
All participants take part in the program free of charge and no insurance is required, according to Patel.
Brought to the hospital by CEO Ramon Rodriguez and Dr. Gustavo Del Toro, chief medical officer at the hospital, the program included an outreach program at local schools and churches to find children who were most in need.
Dr. Martine Pierre, patient experience navigator and studying asthma educator, is an administrator in the Asthmapolis program and helps teach children about using the device.
“We’re trying to get the children involved,” Pierre said. “Lots of people, they have asthma and I feel they really are not fully aware of their illness.”
Jeremiah Scott, a Bushwick native living in Glendale is one of the 31 participants in the program. He said the program has made him more aware of his asthma.
“This has helped my mom know when I’m taking it, what time I’m taking it and how many times a day I need to take it,” Scott said.
His mother, Myra Ortiz, said the text message alerts from the Asthmapolis has helped connect her to her son’s asthma problem and formed a better understanding in the family.
“In school he didn’t have the sensor, but his teacher would call me,” Ortiz said. “Now with the sensor, even when he’s at school, I know when he’s not feeling well.”