COPD Outcomes Improved Significantly When Patients and Doctors Used a Digital Health Tool, Propeller Health Study Finds

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at Louisville’s JenCare Senior Medical Center, a ChenMed company, saw their health outcomes improve significantly when their primary care physicians (PCPs) encouraged using Propeller’s digital health tool to manage their COPD, reports new research by Propeller Health, JenCare, ChenMed and the Center for Healthy Air, Water and Soil investigators published in JMIR Formative Research.

190 patients with COPD were given access to Propeller’s digital health tool, which works by attaching a small sensor to a patient’s existing inhaler. Propeller collects data on medication use and sends medication reminders, progress reports and disease insights to the patient’s smartphone or hub, as well as reports to their doctor. The JenCare patients participated as part of the larger AIR Louisville program, which was a collaborative effort to address respiratory disease in Jefferson County, built on partnerships with Mayor Greg Fischer, multiple city agencies, an environmental institute, and local health systems, payers, employers, and community groups.

JenCare study participants worked closely with their clinicians to enroll in the program. Clinicians then leveraged real-time data points from Propeller to recommend adjustments to their patients’ personalized care plans.

Patients were monitored over the course of 12 months. At three, six and 12 months, patients demonstrated significant reductions in daily rescue medication use and nighttime rescue medication use, as well as an increase in days without symptoms necessitating rescue use. Over the course of 12 months, daily use of rescue medication decreased by 59% and days without symptoms necessitating rescue use increased by 36%.

COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States and is predicted to become the number one cause of death globally in the next 15 years. The disease is associated with progressive loss of lung function and has significant impacts on patients’ physical and mental well-being.

“COPD can have a devastating impact on the people it affects,” said Meredith Barrett, vice president of research at Propeller Health. “The use of a digital health tool to manage COPD can lift some of the burden of the disease and go a long way in improving day-to-day quality of life, particularly when clinicians and patients engage together with the data.”

Compared to previous studies, which have shown that digital health engagement may fall off after three months, this study showed 81% retention and 90% engagement in patients at the six-month mark, suggesting that digital health tools are particularly effective at keeping patients engaged long-term when the clinical care team is involved.

JenCare patients average 208 minutes yearly of face-to-face time with their primary care doctor, more than 10 times the national average, a level of interaction that may have enhanced patient compliance and study outcomes in this study.

“This program was able to minimize the burden on providers while maximizing patient engagement in their own care, leading to significantly better outcomes and a stronger alliance between patient and provider,” said Jessica Chen, MD, Chief Quality Officer at ChenMed. “Propeller helped COPD patients partner with their providers to better understand and manage their condition.”

About Propeller Health
Propeller Health is a leading digital health company dedicated to the management of respiratory disease. Propeller creates products to more effectively treat chronic respiratory disease and improve clinical outcomes for patients through connectivity, analytics, and companion digital experiences. The Propeller platform is used by patients, physicians and healthcare organizations in the United States, Europe and Asia. Propeller Health is a wholly owned subsidiary of ResMed (NYSE: RMD, ASX: RMD). For more information, visit

About ChenMed
For seniors most in need of care, high-quality health care often is beyond reach. ChenMed brings concierge-style medicine — and better health outcomes — to the neediest populations. ChenMed is a privately owned medical, management and technology company that this summer will be operating more than 60 primary care medical practices for seniors in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Its brands include Chen Senior Medical Center, Dedicated Senior Medical Center, and JenCare Senior Medical Center.

ChenMed honors seniors with affordable VIP care that delivers better health. Results of its high-touch approach to primary care are impressive, as illustrated in the recent Modern Healthcare cover story (Oct. 20, 2018), which reports that: “Indeed, ChenMed’s approach has resulted in 50 percent fewer hospital admissions compared with a standard primary-care practice, 28 percent lower per-member costs, and significantly higher use of evidence-based medications.”

Inspired by ChenMed chairman and founder James Chen, M.D., Ph.D., the company has been serving low-to-moderate-income seniors with multiple complex chronic conditions for over 30 years.