Innovation Agency
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Blog on asthma and severe asthma to promote new tools to support clinicians

Blog posted by: Dr Julia Reynolds, Associate Director of Transformation, 22 November 2021.

The Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast, as well as colleagues across the country. are supporting initiatives in our region. We have supportive tools to help clinicians with their diagnosis using FeNO and to identify those with potentially severe asthma more easily.

The North West Coast is home to a significant number of people who experience respiratory problems and we have some of the highest asthma prevalence in the country. Our industrial legacy, ongoing environmental factors and lifestyle, contribute to these health challenges.

Although many people who have asthma or breathing problems are well managed on an inhaler, there are some who are not, and the threat of an asthma attack or disruption to breathing can have a very profound effect on people’s lives and well-being.

We know that COVID has made the ongoing management of asthma very challenging with many asthma patients not receiving  regular follow-up and support with inhaler techniques and checks on well-being that they might usually have face-to-face.

There is a large unmet need in our area. The North West has 16% of asthma patients who have been prescribed two of more courses of steroids in a year which is a sign of uncontrolled asthma. It's the second highest rate in England. There are also potentially 8% of patients on asthma registers who may have severe asthma but have not been diagnosed or referred to specialist services.

Clinical colleagues have helped develop:

  1. Tools to support finding patients who are undiagnosed with asthma
  2. tool to support patients with potentially severe asthma
  3. Access to a toolkit to support clinical staff manage asthma patients – focussed on FeNO
  4. Training for using FeNO machines to aid diagnosis [we’ll have to insert this on Monday!]
  5. Asthma toolkit for supporting pathway change, with lots of useful information from across the country
  6. Risk stratifying for asthma and online support tools – the UCLP framework for Proactive Care@home

The toolkits are regularly updated with new and useful information.

A number of GPs and respiratory nurses and other professionals, in Knowsley, Central Lancashire and Liverpool have used these tools and have incorporated FeNO into their everyday diagnostic toolkits.

For more information and support from the AHSN, please contact


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