Digital health platform improves asthma metrics

Propellor Health’s digital health platform has been linked to a reduction in asthma symptoms and need for medication, according to a recent collaborative study.

This Madison-based company has developed a respiratory management system including connected inhalers, digital interfaces and easy connections to specialists. The system has been used by patients with asthma and COPD in over 65 programs in major health care systems.

The results of this latest study, called AIR Louisville, were published in the journal Health Affairs.

Funding came from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Lung Association, with the involvement of 25 public private and nonprofit groups. Paul Tarini, senior program officer for RWJF, says it was the first of its kind in the nation.

By deploying the respiratory management system, researchers were able to pinpoint when local residents used their asthma inhalers, analyze the environmental conditions there and give the data to participants and city officials.

With the system in place participants had a 78 percent reduction in rescue inhaler use and a 48 percent improvement in days without symptoms.

This information was used in making policy recommendations to the city like expanding tree canopy, removing fewer trees, creating air pollution emission buffers, altering truck routes and establishing a community asthma notification system.

Participants said they joined for two main reasons: improving their health, and contributing to a larger community effort to fight respiratory diseases.

“This is a developing important trend, one we think will make big contributions to how we understand and improve health by focusing on upstream factors in our communities,” Tarini said.

“We think the potential for this collaborative approach is huge, and Propeller is committed to using the data we collect across thousands of patients to better understand where, when and why respiratory symptoms happen so that we can help people live healthier lives,” said Meredith Barrett, vice president of research at Propeller Health and co-author of the paper.

See the study here:

–By Alex Moe