Photo of woman in her living room talking to a doctor on the computer

February 12, 2024

Allergy & Asthma Network, a nonprofit patient education and advocacy organization, and Blue Marble Health, an innovative digital health technology company, are pleased to announce they are collaborating on a new virtual asthma coaching platform, with funding support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award.

NIH awarded the SBIR funding to Blue Marble Health to develop the BREATHE (BRinging Asthma Education, Assessments, and Exercise To Everyone) virtual self-management platform. Allergy & Asthma Network will work as a sub-awardee to evaluate the feasibility of BREATHE for the delivery of asthma self-management education, with an emphasis on minority populations and people living with health disparities.

The Blue Marble Health Platform is designed to support Allergy & Asthma Network’s 6-week asthma self-management program with 1-on-1 certified asthma educators. Participants develop skills to gain a better understanding of asthma, including how to use asthma inhalers correctly and knowing what questions to ask one’s doctor. Program participants will also learn how to track signs and symptoms of asthma, use an Asthma Action Plan, and how to avoid asthma triggers.

“Research shows that more than 50% of people with asthma have poor control of their asthma symptoms and do not adhere to treatment plans. This is more pronounced in under-resourced communities and among people who experience health disparities,” says Allergy & Asthma Network CEO Lynda Mitchell. “Asthma control can be improved with expanded access to self-management programs. By partnering with Blue Marble Health, we provide a user-friendly digital asthma self-management platform that is easily accessed through an Internet-enabled device.”

“We are excited to partner with the Allergy & Asthma Network to expand our solutions related to living with chronic lung diseases,” says Blue Marble Health CEO Sheryl Flynn. “The success of our clinician-supervised or COPD Foundation peer-coach supported virtual pulmonary rehab and COPD self-management solution lays a strong foundation for our expansion to asthma. We are confident that this NIH-funded grant will demonstrate the feasibility of BREATHE especially for those who lack access to asthma care.”

The Blue Marble Health Asthma Self-Management Platform serves as the virtual asthma coaching platform for the Trusted Messengers Community Outreach Program, the signature health equity program of Allergy & Asthma Network. During the first three years of the Trusted Messengers program, virtual asthma coaching has shown to improve participants’ asthma self-management skills. BREATHE allows for easier access by smartphone, tablet or desktop, and provides a comprehensive dashboard for asthma coaches to monitor progress and goals.

With NIH funding, Blue Marble Health will add enhanced features related to asthma self-management, including guidelines-based asthma education modules, a self-report exercise feature, an Asthma Action Plan, and other asthma-related tools. These new features are an adaptation of Blue Marble’s current COPD Self-management and Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation Platform (PR). The virtual PR tool already includes upper and lower extremity strengthening, balance, and aerobic exercise, a COPD Action Plan, and a health diary to track heart rate, oxygen saturation, smoking history, and medication management, among others.

The Blue Marble Health’s Asthma Self-Management Platform is the first commercially available digital asthma self-management platform available for people in under-resourced communities and those experiencing long-term health disparities. It is available in English and Spanish languages.

“Health equity is core to the mission of Allergy & Asthma Network – and BREATHE will help fill the widening gap in asthma self-management for people living in under-resourced communities and experiencing health disparities nationwide,” Mitchell says.

About Blue Marble Health 

Blue Marble Health is a telehealth remote monitoring platform that is transforming health and wellness especially for those living with chronic disease. Our strategy is to improve health and wellness by combining the strengths of scientific evidence with the ability for digital health technologies to increase access to care. For information go to bluemarblehealthco.com.

About Allergy & Asthma Network 

Founded in 1985, Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading nonprofit outreach, education, advocacy and research organization for individuals and families living with allergies, asthma, and related conditions. Our mission is simple yet profound: to end needless death and suffering, empower people to take control of their health and well-being, and make healthcare more inclusive, equitable and accessible for people living with these conditions. We are committed to raising awareness, promoting understanding, offering resources, fostering collaboration, and advocating for policies and research that enhance the quality of life for everyone impacted by these conditions. We specialize in making medically accurate information understandable to all while promoting evidence-based care.

About Trusted Messengers

Trusted Messengers is the signature health equity program of Allergy & Asthma Network. The program is built on a belief in community-led solutions to achieve equity in healthcare. Trusted Messengers began in 2020 to address the negative health impact of COVID-19 and asthma in the Black community. The program is designed to help people get the knowledge they need – from trusted, credible sources such as local churches and community health centers – to adopt healthy behaviors and make informed decisions about their health. Trusted Messengers events involve certified asthma educators going into communities to conduct assessments for asthma, allergies, food allergies and eczema. People with asthma are invited to enroll in virtual asthma coaching, a free 6-week series of 1-on-1 online sessions – available in English and Spanish – with a certified asthma educator. Trusted Messengers is funded through the generous support of founding sponsor Sanofi, as well as Amgen, AstraZeneca, Genentech, Johnson & Johnson Innovations, Novartis and Regeneron.