Digital health drives positive changes in behavior for people with respiratory conditions

Digital health can impact positive behavior change

At Propeller, we’re committed to the science of improving health through positive changes in behavior. Specifically, we design tools that help people with asthma or COPD stay on top of their treatment plan and that help them learn what triggers their symptoms. Preventing exacerbations is especially important now, as COVID-19 continues to pose additional risk for people with respiratory conditions. 

Because of the pandemic, we didn’t have the opportunity to present our latest findings on patient behavior at the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) 2020 Annual Meeting. Here’s a quick overview of the presentation and abstracts which had been accepted by the conference. 

Presentation: Patient characteristics associated with mobile application engagement for asthma and COPD self-management

Authors: Rahul Gondalia, Esther Remmelink, Leanne Kaye, Shivani Parikh, Kelly Henderson, Alesha Thompson, Meredith Barrett

Of 617 adults with asthma or COPD, older patients engaged with the Propeller mobile app for longer amounts of time — countering the myth that older users do not engage with digital health tools. The authors also uncovered other insights based on patient characteristics. For example, older men with COPD were more likely to engage with the app, while asthma patients with lower income were less likely to engage. This is one of the first studies to examine how demographics such as age, gender and income can impact objective measures of engagement. The results can inform targeted interventions to improve engagement, health behavior and product development. 

Abstract: The relationship between mobile app engagement and medication adherence in asthma and COPD

Authors: Leanne Kaye, Rahul Gondalia, Esther Remmelink, Kelly Henderson, Shivani Parikh, Alesha Thompson, Meredith Barrett

In a study group of 3,511 adults with asthma and 1,159 adults with COPD who used Propeller to manage their condition, engagement with the Propeller mobile app was associated with significant increases in adherence to controller medications, which are crucial to keeping symptoms under control. Engagement was measured by the number of times the app was opened and how much time users spent in the app. 

Abstract: Communication and perceptions of environmental influences on respiratory symptoms in patients with asthma and COPD

Authors: Shivani Parikh, Kelly Henderson, Rahul Gondalia, Leanne Kaye, Esther Remmelink, Alesha Thompson, Meredith Barrett

In a survey of 698 Propeller users, more than 80% perceived pollen, mold, second-hand smoke and air pollution as triggers that worsened symptoms. Nearly half of the respondents, however, were not aware of air pollutants such as NO2, O3, SO2 and PM. Finally, a majority of patients reported using smartphone apps or TV reports to learn about daily air pollution and pollen status, regardless of education level or income. These findings could inform new and more accessible methods of delivering digital health interventions to a broad range of audiences such as in-app videos.

This work was supported in part by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, through their CDC cooperative agreement number, 5U38OT000143-05. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC. 

Interested in more findings? SBM is hosting webinars on innovative solutions to changing health behaviors

Propeller can help your healthcare organization drive better outcomes for people with asthma or COPD. To learn more, get in touch at