Developing Aerovu mobile app for improving asthma self-management
Aerovu is a comprehensive mobile platform for asthma self-management, with helpful tools for improving medication compliance, learning about and tracking your triggers, and getting a better view of your unique asthma journey. The Aerovu Health app allows users to monitor and track inhaler use, and provides a suite of other helpful tools for asthma sufferers. The app enables users to set up medication reminder notifications, digitally manage their doctor-provided asthma action plan, monitor weather patterns that may affect their breathing, and track asthma medication doses remaining in their inhaler devices.
The goal of the app is to encourage medication and action plan compliance, which can help users manage their asthma symptoms and reduce anxiety related to timely medication administration.
Asthma causes swelling of the airways. This results in the narrowing of the airways that carry air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Allergens or other irritants entering the lungs trigger asthma symptoms such as trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest. Asthma can be deadly. Asthma and its neighboring disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), have no cures, but can be managed with proper treatment and prevention of attacks.
Eighty percent of asthmatics have not received a proper education and understanding of the differences between control and rescue medications. And, over 55% of asthmatics are unaware their asthma is not well-controlled, which has shown to have a direct correlation with increased risk of hospitalization, urgent medical needs, and reduced quality of life. Until Aerovu was created, no one had taken on the challenge of providing asthma treatment and controlling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with apps.
Aerovu is a startup company seeking to bring to market an all-new, mobile app-based digital tool for sufferers of chronic lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD. The Aerovu CEO learned, through conversations with patients and fellow healthcare providers in the respiratory field, that there was a need for mobile apps for improving asthma self-management. So, Aerovu was founded to fill this gap in the marketplace by providing mobile health applications for asthma monitoring and treatment.
The client was looking for assistance with the development of a mobile app that would help its users to better understand and track asthma or COPD symptoms, as well as access and navigate medications. Aerovu wanted to develop the asthma app, then leverage the platform and its user base for an expanded e-commerce experience. One of the Aerovu team’s strategic goals is to build understanding and experience creating patient-focused digital tools.
We proposed that Aerovu develop a comprehensive mobile therapy app for asthma monitoring. The solution would be more than just a pill reminder and medication tracker app. It would help sufferers of chronic lung diseases better control asthma and COPD by tracking their health conditions, making appropriate records and logs, setting up action plans and reminders, monitoring the weather, tracking inhaler puffs, and assisting them with immediate care and medication access.
We started work on the project on December 15, 2020, and finished at the beginning of March 2021, a month ahead of the originally planned deadline.
Healthcare app development tech stack
We chose a Flutter with Rails backend approach for the healthcare development tech stack.
Flutter was chosen because it is a great fit for cross-platform development and has several important benefits, including cost-effectiveness, a big community, and lots of libraries. We incorporated the backend with Ruby on Rails, since it is also an open-source technology with lots of support and available libraries.
The application was realized in a classic way with the frontend and backend, while interaction between which takes place via REST API. On the backend, we used the RoR stack (API version), PostgreSQL, Redis, and Swagger for API documentation.
We enabled authorization in the application by phone number and one-time password through SMS, and we also implemented the filling, saving, and editing of information about users and their medications.
In addition, we developed admin panels for maintaining a reference book of medicines and for creating questions for a health survey. The application utilizes local push notifications to remind users to take medications and complete their weekly health survey.
As for third-party services, Twilio is used to send an SMS with a one-time password, while Cloudinary is used to store pictures. We also integrated the Firebase SMS verification service, Instabug to get reports about possible problems in the application, and the Weather API for weather forecasting.
With the help of a designer, provided by the client, we also developed a simple, one-page website with a description of the application.
How does it work?
The app provides three action plans: Green, Yellow, and Red. The user fills in which medications are prescribed for each plan. They can see the recommended frequency and dose presets for each medicine and customize it, if necessary. Users can also input a medication that is not on the list.
On the main screen of the application, the user notes how they feel. If they state that they are feeling unwell, they are invited to call their doctor, and the phone book opens. It is possible that, after the release and testing of the MVP, we will integrate the ability to make a call to a preselected emergency number, as well as automatic switching to the correct action plan after the user has answered how they feel.
While working on the project, we encountered some minor difficulties getting the client's account approved in Google Play and the App Store. So, we offered to use our accounts for testing and then transferred everything to the client's accounts, once the approvals went through.
We helped the client with their Google Play and the App Store account applications, set up automatic posting through the Codemagic service, conducted beta testing throughout the development, and arranged weekly demos. We also helped the client solve issues with design and technical specifications, offering multiple solutions for them to choose from.
Plans for the future
The client is happy and really enjoying the app we built for them. They plan to show the MVP we developed to the first users to collect feedback, and then we will start on the next phase of developing new features.
Along with the mobile application, the Aerovu team plans to develop a device that would connect via Bluetooth and exchange data with the app. The device is currently under development and will come after the basic mobile application is shipped, likely in late 2022.
In the long run, the Aerovu team also plans to incorporate telehealth capabilities into the mobile application, such as text and video chats with doctors, emergency calls, and consultations. When that time comes, we will be happy to help them further develop their asthma monitoring and management app.
If you have an idea to make health apps in Android/iOS, or you just want to learn more about the right cross-platform frameworks for healthcare app development, send us a message via the form below. We’ll get in touch with you as soon as possible to see how we can help.