Application of machine learning algorithms for asthma management with mHealth: A clinical review

Kevin C. H. Tsang, Hilary Pinnock, Andrew M. Wilson, Syed Ahmar Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Asthma is a variable long-term condition. Currently, there is no cure for asthma and the focus is, therefore, on long-term management. Mobile health (mHealth) is promising for chronic disease management but to be able to realize its potential, it needs to go beyond simply monitoring. mHealth therefore needs to leverage machine learning to provide tailored feedback with personalized algorithms. There is a need to understand the extent of machine learning that has been leveraged in the context of mHealth for asthma management. This review aims to fill this gap. Methods: We searched PubMed for peer-reviewed studies that applied machine learning to data derived from mHealth for asthma management in the last five years. We selected studies that included some human data other than routinely collected in primary care and used at least one machine learning algorithm. Results: Out of 90 studies, we identified 22 relevant studies that were then further reviewed. Broadly, existing research efforts can be categorized into three types: 1) technology development, 2) attack prediction, 3) patient clustering. Using data from a variety of devices (smartphones, smartwatches, peak flow meters, electronic noses, smart inhalers, and pulse oximeters), most applications used supervised learning algorithms (logistic regression, decision trees, and related algorithms) while a few used unsupervised learning algorithms. The vast majority used traditional machine learning techniques, but a few studies investigated the use of deep learning algorithms. Discussion: In the past five years, many studies have successfully applied machine learning to asthma mHealth data. However, most have been developed on small datasets with internal validation at best. Small sample sizes and lack of external validation limit the generalizability of these studies. Future research should collect data that are more representative of the wider asthma population and focus on validating the derived algorithms and technologies in a real-world setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)855-873
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Asthma and Allergy
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2022


  • artificial intelligence
  • chronic disease
  • remote monitoring; asthma
  • self-management
  • smart devices

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