A breath of fresh air for those with childhood asthma

When you’re a kid, it can be hard to do the things you love when you have trouble breathing: going outside, playing sports, or even just spending time with family. Asthma has a huge impact on children’s health in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma affects approximately 6.5% of children and 8.4% of adolescents in the United States. This includes approximately 234,000 children that are part of a UnitedHealthcare Community Plan. 

There are many different risk factors for asthma, including mold, tobacco smoke, and even strong emotions which can cause hyperventilation. Environmental factors can also be a key factor, whether it’s pollutants from a nearby highway, mold in a house, or wildfire smoke. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be treated and managed effectively. There are many different ways to help address childhood asthma, and there is rarely a one size fits all approach. On one hand, education can be key in helping to avoid or manage asthma-triggering situations. On the other, asthma symptoms can be alleviated or even reversed completely with the appropriate use of bronchodilator medications, such as short-acting beta-agonists (SABAs), which relax the airway muscles and improve airflow.

The medication is not always intuitive, however. A recent study showed that about 36% of children with asthma adhered to their prescribed medication schedule correctly and consistently. In light of this, UnitedHealthcare Community Plans is working with Scene Health for virtual medication engagement and support for its members.

With Scene Health, members are able to take control of their health with some extra help and daily connections, supporting and motivating children through asthma medication adherence. This is done through a clinical program called video Directly Observed Therapy (vDOT).

The program begins with a review of the patient’s medication and daily check-ins through an app. The patient is able to upload videos of them taking their medication so it can be reviewed by a care team for support and further education, if needed.

Because the patient is engaged in the program every day, it helps them develop healthy habits and build confidence.

A customized action plan is created for each child and shared with the child’s family and pediatrician. This enables them to:

  • Identify asthma triggers
  • Learn about and understand asthma triggers
  • Practice asthma-management techniques
  • Assist the child in taking medication correctly and consistently

The vDOT platform has been shown to successfully detect medication and technique errors and help resolve them. vDOT is one tool UnitedHealthcare Community Plan members with asthma have at their disposal to breathe a little easier. By combining various treatment approaches, we help equip children and their families with the tools and knowledge needed to overcome asthma's challenges, unlocking their full potential for a healthier, brighter future.

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