New research shows Propeller improves outcomes for patients with high burden of COPD

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The COPD Assessment Test (CAT) is a short questionnaire that can provide insight into how a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is managing their condition, and the burden of COPD. But while the questionnaire is widely accepted in clinical practice, it is not administered on a routine basis. 

At Propeller, we want to make this information accessible to patients and their clinicians so they can make informed decisions and understand long-term trends in the patient’s condition. To do so, we prompt patients with COPD to take the CAT once a month in the Propeller app and share the results with patients and their providers. 

By combining CAT scores and the objective medication usage data Propeller collects, we can  better understand the patient’s COPD status and the need for further intervention. In a new article published in Frontiers in Digital Health, we observed significant, parallel improvements in CAT scores and rescue inhaler use among 611 patients with COPD using the Propeller platform. 

Six months after enrolling in Propeller’s digital health program — which included Bluetooth® inhaler sensors, a smartphone app and clinical monitoring — patients’ mean CAT score decreased by 0.9 points and their mean rescue inhaler use decreased by 0.6 puffs per day. 

Notably, among patients with higher COPD burden (a CAT score of 21 or above) at enrollment, mean CAT scores improved by 2 points, a clinically meaningful difference, and mean rescue inhaler use decreased by 0.8 puffs per day. This suggests that using the Propeller platform and engaging with the monthly CAT questionnaire may be associated with lower disease burden in COPD.

Bar Graph“It’s encouraging to see that Propeller was able to support significant clinical improvement in the population with higher COPD burden,” notes Valerie Press, MD, MPH, an associate professor medicine at UChicago whose work focuses on improving engagement and outcomes for underserved populations with chronic conditions. “This suggests that, contrary to popular assumptions, digital health can drive real change for some adults living with COPD.” 

To learn how Propeller can support your patients or health plan members with COPD, email us at