Reductions in healthcare resource utilization among patients with COPD enrolled in a digital health intervention

For patients with a progressive lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it can be difficult to self-manage their condition. And for clinicians, it can be difficult to find the right action plan to keep patients adherent to their medications and out of the emergency room. Fortunately, the use of digital health tools in chronic disease care is accelerating and research to date has shown promising clinical outcomes1

In a recent study presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2021, Propeller, in partnership with Desert Oasis Healthcare, evaluated the effect of a 6-month digital health intervention on healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) and medication use in patients with COPD.

Fifty-six patients with COPD were enrolled by their clinical pharmacist in Propeller’s digital health platform. This included Bluetooth® sensors that chimed controller medication reminders, recorded inhaler medication use and paired with a patient-facing app to support self-management. Meanwhile, on the care team’s end, clinical pharmacists used a web portal that enabled them to receive alerts whenever patients showed low controller medication adherence or high rescue inhaler use. 

After six months of intervention, we observed a 48% relative reduction in all-cause HCRU and stable controller medication adherence (61.5% by the last week) among enrolled patients. The observed relative reduction in COPD-related HCRU included a 24% decrease in COPD-related oral corticosteroid prescriptions and a 45% decline in COPD-related ED visits and hospitalizations.

These results offer promising insight for the future of digital health. The outcomes of this study suggest that healthcare programs utilizing digital health platforms can achieve reductions in HCRU and support self-management among patients with COPD. Further, the ability to actively monitor patients can enable care teams to make timely and effective decisions regarding a patient’s medication regimen.

To learn more about how Propeller can help you provide personalized care for your patients while reducing utilization costs, reach out to us at

1Chan et al. (2021).