Iris Ritsma
in context.jpg


Supporting asthma patients in the road towards better asthma self-management



When suffering form asthma self-management is of essential importance to minimize the burden caused by the disease. Self-management consists of many interrelated activities such as monitoring the disease, taking the medication as prescribed and dealing with the physical and psychological consequences of having the disease.

The goal of self-management is to achieve asthma control, and in this way to minimize asthma complaints. However, on their road towards better asthma self-management asthma patients face many barriers. The goal of this project was to support asthma patients in their self-management and to overcome these barriers.




Design an asthma self-management system that both empowers and supports recently diagnosed asthma patients and increases their competence of medical self-management.


Vea is an asthma self-management system that both empowers and supports recently diagnosed asthma patients on their journey towards better self-management. Vea enables the user to set goals and supports the user to achieve these. It does so through personalization, providing insight and feedback.



University: Delft university of technology

Duration: 20 weeks

Graduation Project


Boehringer Ingelheim




Please note that this page is still under construction


Design question

30 px quote.png

“Design an asthma self-management system that both empowers and supports recently diagnosed asthma patients and increases their competence of medical self-management.”


Key features


Set goals

The app allows the user to set goals related to asthma self-management, and supports them to achieve these goals

See progress on the journey

The journey keeps track of the progress that the user makes. This way a feeling of competence is enhanced

Get feedback

By means of automatically tracking the user’s asthma condition and medication intake the app can provide the user with feedback & stimulate insight

Learn about your asthma

Asthma is a highly personal disease. The app helps to discover the users’ specific type of asthma and triggers. Besides that, it also provides the tools to act upon this information


Predicts your personal air quality


Through setting goals, the app learns about the user’s asthma. With this knowledge Vea can predict the user’s personal air quality and can suggest how to best act upon possible triggers inside and outside the house.

home tracker.jpg

The problem

As found in literature

input illustrator2-19.png

Lack of insight

Due to a lack of insight in their disease asthma patients are 4x more likely to end up in the emergency department, 5x as likely to be hospitalized and 6x as likely to have (near) fatal asthma attacks

input illustrator2-16.png

74% is non-adherent

74% of all asthma patients is non-adherent to their medication

input illustrator2-17.png

Incorrect inhaler technique

41-55% has incorrect inhaler technique





Asthma patients face several barriers on the road towards achieving optimal self-management.


Why do these problems occur?


Focus groups were conducted with in total 5 asthma patients to find out what causes the problems as found in literature.



Focus groups uncovered underlying problems

Literature provided a good insight into the problems within self-management. However, I asked myself the question “Why?”.

Why do asthma patients not take their medicine?

Why are asthma patients not optimally self managing?

In order to find out what the underlying problems are I organized several focus groups with asthma patients.

input illustrator-20.png

Inadequate knowledge sources

Asthma is a highly personal disease. The websites that Dutch patients refer to provide lots of information. Unfortunately, also a lot of information that is not applicable to the patient’s situation.

input illustrator-21.png

Lack of feedback

When (not) taking medication asthma patients do not immediately notice an incline or decline in their condition.

input illustrator-22.png

Lack of insight

Getting insight into the development of the disease requires a lot of active attention to the disease. In practice patients do not want to spend that much attention to their disease, and they tend to forget how they were doing a while ago


Key solutions

input illustrator2-19.png

Personalize knowledge

input illustrator-26.png

Create a journey

input illustrator-25.png
input illustrator-27.png

Provide feedback

Provide insight



Design process

Designing and app & physical design simultaneously

design process2.jpg


Sketch sessions

Several sketching sessions were done, individually, with designers of VanBerlo and with non-designers



App development


Testing aesthetics


Testing interactions


Testing interactions


Sketching screens


Asking feedback from professionals at VanBerlo


Development of the screens


Design & development Home Tracker

user quote.jpg
user quote2.jpg