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More than five million people in the UK have asthma with the NHS spending over £1bn per year on asthma, the vast majority of it on medication. Asthma can be difficult to diagnose and misdiagnosis can be common. Improving outcomes in respiratory disease is identified as a priority in the NHS Long Term Plan. Health Innovation Oxford and Thames Valley supports the national focus on increasing detection and diagnosis, and reducing mortality, morbidity and inequalities.

From 2021-23 the Oxford and Wessex AHSNs led two national programmes, adopting a joined up approach supporting system-wide collaboration and innovation in all asthma pathways. These initiatives, commissioned by the NHS in line with national priorities, are leading to improvements in outcomes and quality of life for many people. More appropriate diagnosis, management and referral of patients needing further specialist input is helping to reduce asthma attacks, asthma-related hospital admissions and the use of steroids, known to have long-term side-effects. The Oxford AHSN led the national programme to increase uptake of biologic medicines for patients with severe and uncontrolled asthma and worked closely with Wessex AHSN which led the national programme to increase use of FeNO (fractional exhaled nitric oxide) testing in asthma diagnosis and management.

In addition, we work with innovators to support the translation of research and development into clinical practice and provide effective signposting and advice to companies seeking to develop and evaluate new diagnostic, digital, medical device and artificial intelligence technologies. A number of these are related to respiratory conditions.