Transforming patient experience: Using digital tools to support people living with asthma


Buddy Njere, Global Director, Patient Empowerment Strategy & Innovation at AstraZeneca

While recent treatment advances have helped millions of people worldwide better manage their asthma, we know many more remain underserved and continue to struggle – with uncontrolled symptoms leading to more than 176 million asthma attacks each year.1,2,3


Access to appropriate, specialist care is vital to improving the lives of people living with asthma. This is important for people living with severe asthma - a distinct form of asthma that can seriously impact people’s quality of life.4 For example, it can take up to seven years for severe asthma patients to receive a diagnosis;5 they often face long waiting times to access specialist care and many severe asthma patients are unaware of the severity of their condition.6

Technology has a crucial role to play. Already a valuable source of health information, during the COVID-19 pandemic around 80% of patients have sought answers to health-related issues online.7

Recognising the evolving needs of patients in a rapidly changing healthcare environment, our PRECISION programme – which works to ensure people with severe asthma routinely receive the right care, at the right time, in the most appropriate setting – has supported the development and circulation of a range of resources and digital tools to empower patients. This includes Vik Asthma, an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot developed by WeFight and made available to patients with support from the PRECISION programme.

There is a vital need for these digital tools. All asthma patients are at risk of asthma attacks regardless of disease severity,8 and the management of asthma is challenging because airway inflammation is complex and dynamic. Enabling patients to better understand their symptoms and their triggers that drive inflammation can help them receive the support they need. Through the Vik Asthma chatbot’s support, patients can feel informed and engaged in their care alongside their healthcare professionals. As a result, patient-doctor conversations can focus on improving care through, for example, medication switching, dose modifications and side effect management. Vik Asthma can also remind patients to take their medication and advise on seeking follow-up appointments where required.

Vik Asthma is currently being used in 12 markets including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Costa Rica.9 

Despite scientific advancements leading to more treatment options and global best practice guidelines for enhanced standards of care, progress in improving the quality of life for asthma patients has been slow.5 These challenges have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic: although there has been an unprecedented focus on care transformation for respiratory disease more broadly, there are still significant challenges with gaps in systems, patient pathways and behaviours.10

Vik Asthma seamlessly integrates with social media platforms, which allows us to reach, identify, and engage the right asthma patients. It is so innovative that it also has the capability to integrate with several initiatives in our patient empowerment ecosystem.

Buddy Njere, Global Director, Patient Empowerment Strategy & Innovation at AstraZeneca

The Vik Asthma Chatbot can be a helpful source of support for patients living with asthma, who may see their lives disrupted by exacerbations and frequent trips to hospital.1,5

We are committed to supporting patient care and outcomes that people care about, so they can enjoy fulfilling lives.

For more information, please visit the Vik Asthma website.


1. The Global Asthma Network. The Global Asthma Report 2018. Available at: Last accessed December 2021

2. Chen S, et al. Systematic literature review of the clinical, humanistic, and economic burden associated with asthma uncontrolled by GINA Steps 4 or 5 treatment. Curr Med Res Opin. 2018;34:2075–2088

3. AZ data on file. Annual Rate of Exacerbations Globally (ID:SD-3010-ALL-0017).

4. Shaw DE, Sousa AR et al. Clinical and inflammatory characteristics of the European U-BIOPRED adult severe asthma cohort. Eur Respir J 2015 Nov;46(5):1308-21. doi: 10.1183/13993003.00779-2015. Epub 2015 Sep 10. Available from:

5. Menzies-Gow A, et al. A Charter to Improve Patient Care in Severe Asthma. Adv Ther. 2018 35:1485–1496

6. AstraZeneca data on file

7. AstraZeneca data on file

8. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP. Data on file, Formoterol: Annual Rate of Exacerbations Globally (ID:SD-3010-ALL-0017)

9. AstraZeneca data on file

10. Efthymiadou, Olina, et al. Treatment gaps in severe asthma across nine OECD countries and recommendations for addressing them: an international survey of clinicians. 2021. Available at: Last accessed December 2021


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Veeva ID: Z4-39108
Date of preparation: December 2021