May 5, 2017

Pilot study of mobile phone technology in allergic rhinitis in European countries: the MASK-rhinitis study


    1. Previous article in issue: Overview of systematic reviews in allergy epidemiology

    Abstract
    Background
    The use of Apps running on smartphones and tablets profoundly affects medicine. The MASK-rhinitis (MACVIA-ARIA Sentinel NetworK for allergic rhinitis) App (Allergy Diary) assesses allergic rhinitis symptoms, disease control and impact on patients’ lives. It is freely available in 20 countries (iOS and Android platforms).
    Aims

    To assess in a pilot study whether (i) Allergy Diary users were able to properly provide baseline characteristics (ii) simple phenotypic characteristics based upon data captured by the Allergy Diarycould be identified and (iii) information gathered by this study could suggest novel research questions.
    Methods
    The Allergy Diary users were classified into six groups according to the baseline data that they entered into the App: (i) asymptomatic; (ii) nasal symptoms excluding rhinorrhea; (iii) rhinorrhea; (iv) rhinorrhea plus 1–2 nasal/ocular symptoms; (v) rhinorrhea plus ≥3 nasal/ocular symptoms; and (vi) rhinorrhea plus all nasal/ocular symptoms.
    Results
    By 1 June 2016, 3260 users had registered with the Allergy Diary and 2710 had completed the baseline questionnaire. Troublesome symptoms were found mainly in the users with the most symptoms. Around 50% of users with troublesome rhinitis and/or ocular symptoms suffered work impairment. Sleep was impaired by troublesome symptoms and nasal obstruction.
    Conclusions
    This is the first App (iOS and Android) to have tested for allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis. A simple questionnaire administered by cell phones enables the identification of phenotypic differences between a priori defined rhinitis groups. The results suggest novel concepts and research questions in allergic rhinitis that may not be identified using classical methods.

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