A new opportunity will increase access to fast and accurate asthma testing in primary care and reduce health inequality.

More than 5.4 million people in the UK are living with asthma. However, access to innovative diagnostic tools to support the diagnosis and monitoring of asthma is not equal across England, with some patients who have suspected asthma currently unable to benefit from diagnosis tools available elsewhere.

To address this health inequity, the AHSN Network is working with Intermedical, a specialist provider of medical diagnostic and therapy equipment, to give primary care greater access to Fractional exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) testing.

FeNO tests are simple and quick to perform, using a breath sample to record the level of nitric oxide expelled from a patient’s airways. Higher concentrations of nitric oxide are common in patients with airway inflammation and can be used to support a diagnosis of asthma as well as ongoing monitoring of those with the condition.

Intermedical is offering primary care organisations in England access to Bedfont® NObreath® FeNO testing through a flexible rental offer for three years, enabling practices or Primary Care Networks, regardless of their size and testing volume, equal opportunities to access FeNO testing for their patients*. Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) are available to support clinical teams and health systems to integrate FeNO testing into their asthma pathways as part of their role to deliver NHS England’s Rapid Uptake Programme and support wider implementation and adoption.

Marc McDonnell, UK and Ireland Sales Manager, for Intermedical, said: “We are proud to support this initiative. The Bedfont® NObreath® has proved to be extremely popular within the primary care setting due to its accurate results and ease of use. We are delighted to be able to offer an alternative way for clinicians and patients to have access to FeNO testing whilst ensuring that the cost per test remains low.”

The collaboration supports the AHSN Network’s ongoing work to improve access to FeNO testing in England as part of the NHS England Accelerated Access Collaborative Rapid Uptake Products Programme 2021-22, designed to support wider adoption and spread of proven innovations.

During the first 18 months of this programme, an estimated 146,000 additional patients benefited from FeNO testing across England, resulting from hundreds more FeNO devices entering use in primary care.

Nicola Bent, AHSN FeNO executive lead, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Innovation Adoption, Wessex AHSN, said: “We are delighted to be working with Intermedical as part of our ongoing work to increase adoption of FeNO testing within primary care settings. Improving access to FeNO testing reduces health inequities across local communities and improves care for people living with asthma.”

Dr Andrew Whittamore, GP, Clinical Lead Asthma and Lung UK, and joint FeNO national clinical lead, said: “Asthma is a common health condition, but it can have a huge impact on a patient’s life. Severe asthma attacks can result in hospital admissions and can be life-threatening. By increasing access to improved diagnostics, such as FeNO testing, we can get a faster, more effective diagnosis for patients and get them the right treatment for their condition.”

Find out more about how the AHSNs are improving asthma care and supporting the adoption of FeNO.

Read this latest blog on ‘How increasing access to innovative diagnostics and treatments is transforming care for asthma patients’ by Dr Andy Whittamore, GP, Clinical Lead Asthma + Lung UK and British Lung Foundation and joint FeNO national clinical lead & Dr Hitasha Rupani, Consultant Respiratory Physician, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and Asthma Biologics Clinical Champion.

*– Participation is optional, and enrolling sites will be required to participate for a minimum of three years. Contact Intermedical or your local AHSN for further details.

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