Clinical Blog
Published: July 13, 2022

The Promise of Digital Health: Then, Now, and the Future

From the increased development of personalized therapeutics to the growing adoption of telemedicine, digital innovation has been applied to nearly every aspect of patient care and human health.

In a special publication with the National Academy of Medicine, Propeller Health and ResMed’s VP of Population Health Research, Meredith Barrett – alongside several luminaries in healthcare such as leaders from UCSF, Blue Shield of California, The Scripps Research Institute, and more – provides a comprehensive review of digital health solutions and identifies critical implementation opportunities including: 

Improving Medical Care

Whether a patient is in the clinic or at home, clinicians require more efficient pathways for diagnosing and treating conditions, ensuring care continuity and partnering with their patients to support disease self-management. Digital health tools have the potential to address these needs by streamlining clinical workflows and improving patient engagement to optimize care, whether remotely or in-person, and may even reduce error and waste in the delivery system.

Advancing Precision Health

To ensure effective patient care and develop the most impactful treatment plans, we must understand the health implications of an individual’s genetics, environment and health history. By using digital health solutions to collect this data, healthcare organizations can target individual medical interventions more precisely and more proactively. Done right, this concept can identify entire populations at greater risk from certain characteristics or exposures, and implement protective interventions at scale.

Promoting Patient Behavior Change

Improving patient health outcomes begins with driving sustainable, healthy behavior change. Evidence-based digital health tools that focus on behavior can improve self-awareness, provide on-demand health information and education, and support improved self-management through social support networks, health coaches and providers. The data generated from these tools can be used to identify behavioral risk factors that contribute to chronic disease, leading to real-time, personalized feedback that supports behavior change in ways that are more compelling than traditional patient education.

Achieving Improved Population Health

When thoughtfully designed and equitably deployed, digital health tools can be effective in improving the identification and mitigation of the underlying causes of illness, health and well-being. Aggregating digital health insights at a community level can enable the healthcare industry and government leaders to accurately measure the health behaviors and activities of patient populations, supporting resource allocation and data-driven public health decision making at the local level.

So, what are the healthcare industry’s next steps for executing these goals? In order to realize the full potential of digital health, every stakeholder in the healthcare ecosystem must cooperate to develop shared governance, taking into account healthcare infrastructure, data stewardship and collaboration needs. Most urgently, we must ensure equitable access to digital health resources through appropriate reimbursement and coverage paths. If we can deliver on these promises, we can keep provider, payer, pharma and policy-maker motivations aligned and change healthcare for the better.

Read the full discussion paper from the National Academy of Medicine.

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Reducing Clinician Burnout: The Power of Using Digital Tools Effectively

It's no secret that health systems are feeling strained, with 47% of physicians experiencing symptoms of clinician burnout.1 An overwhelming amount of clinical data, jam-packed days with little time to connect with patients, and a lengthy list of responsibilities are leaving healthcare professionals feeling drained.

Clinician exhaustion can lead to reduced job satisfaction, increased turnover, and a decrease in the quality of care provided to patients. But burnout isn’t only harmful to teams — it can also cause financial strain on health systems. According to a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine, clinician exhaustion accumulates approximately $4.6 billion in costs due to turnover and reduced clinic hours.2

But when health systems use digital tools the right way, they can reduce the risk of clinician burnout and increase patient care coordination.

From 2010 to Today: Happy Birthday, Propeller!

Today marks an incredible milestone: Propeller Health's 13th birthday. What began as a quest to solve a public health problem has turned into a global precision digital health company driving meaningful, measurable change in the industry. 

Recognizing early on that creating value for all parties in health – health systems, clinicians, payers, and pharmaceutical companies – is essential in order to drive sustainable change, we’ve spent the past 13 years pioneering innovative solutions that always keep the patient at the center. Our story is one of hard work, dedication, collaboration, and above all, a mission to uplift every person living with a chronic disease so they can breathe easier, stay healthier, and live better lives. 

Propeller was founded on the heels of a then-mysterious string of asthma attacks in Barcelona in the 1980s. It took 8 years for experts to identify soybean dust – not yet recognized as an allergen – as the trigger. One CDC disease detective envisioned a better way to monitor public health: by using technology to track medication usage and symptoms. With this mission, Propeller was born. 

Coming to AAAAI 2023: Propeller’s latest asthma research

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) has accepted five abstracts examining the latest data from Propeller Health and ResMed.

Our findings on asthma care, which include analyzing the direct and indirect cost-savings associated with a digital intervention in uncontrolled asthma, will be presented at the AAAAI Annual Meeting on February 24-27. Read brief summaries of each abstract below or click the links to view them online.

Direct and indirect cost-savings associated with a digital intervention in uncontrolled asthma: A literature-based estimate