DC Asthma Coalition Gives Out Careguide Kits
With the help of asthma kits developed by experts in health literacy and ethnography, the DC Asthma Coalition (DCAC) is helping Washington, DC-area families with asthmatic children learn to help themselves. A partnership of more than 45 health, social service, government, corporate, and community organizations, the DCAC is distributing more than 200 of the kits, developed by Gurnee, Ill-based Careguide Systems Inc, to families with children ages 3 to 12 enrolled in the coalition’s Collaborative Intervention Demonstration Project. Community health workers will assess the home environment, train the families to use the kits, and answer questions on the diagnosis and monitoring of care for children with asthma.

“For decades, consumer-oriented corporations, such as Maytag, Kimberly-Clark, and virtually all automotive manufacturers, have used the qualitative research techniques of ethnography to modify their products and instructions for end users,” says Sylvia Aruffo, PhD, executive director of Careguide’s Institute for Ethnography in Communication. “Until now, however, the concept has been unknown in health care.”

The kits include step-by-step instructions and user-friendly tools for self-care, including a personal health journal, a peak flow meter, a holding chamber, mattress and pillow encasings, and a coloring book. “The asthma kits will support our goal to reduce hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and school absences,” says Lisa A. Gilmore, executive director of the DCAC. “They will contribute to an improved quality of life for young asthma sufferers and their families.”

• FDA OKs Inogen One
In May, Inogen Corp, Santa Barbara, Calif, received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration to begin marketing its lightweight portable concentrator, which the company asserts is the “one device that will replace many.” Called Inogen One, the oxygen concentrator is quiet, compact, and energy efficient. The company claims it breaks product category boundaries by serving as both a stationary and portable device.

Using sensitive oxygen conserver technology, the concentrator features long battery life, a user-friendly LCD; large-print, easy-to-read-and-understand product materials; and a family of accessory products. The company is currently finalizing an agreement with a national distribution partner and soon will announce details to the public. Inogen One will begin shipping in October.