MADISON, Wis., April 2, 2018 – Today Propeller Health and peer-reviewed healthcare journal, Health Affairs, published results from a cross-sector partnership in Louisville, KY, that successfully reduced the burden of asthma. AIR Louisville, one of the largest studies of asthma conducted in a real-world setting, was a collaboration among 25 public, private and philanthropic organizations to use digital health technology to improve asthma. Partners and paper co-authors included representatives from city government such as the Mayor and agencies including Civic Innovation and Public Health, local business leaders and clinical providers, and nonprofit partner, the Institute for Healthy Air Water and Soil. The program deployed inhaler sensors and a digital health platform to monitor where and when local residents used their inhaled medications for asthma, assessed the environmental conditions that might have influenced asthma symptoms, and shared those findings with participants and city decision-makers.
The authors found that participants experienced several positive clinical outcomes, including a 78% reduction in rescue inhaler use and a 48% improvement in symptom-free days. The hundreds of thousands of crowdsourced real-world data points on inhaler use, combined with environmental data, also informed municipal policy recommendations, including enhancing tree canopy, tree removal mitigation, zoning for air pollution emission buffers, recommended truck routes, and development of a community asthma notification system.
“AIR Louisville demonstrated the value of crowdsourced health data, influencing positive outcomes from an individual level up to the policy-making level,” said Meredith Barrett, VP of Research at Propeller Health and co-author of the paper. “We think the potential for this collaborative approach is huge, and Propeller is committed to using the data we collect across thousands of patients to better understand where, when and why respiratory symptoms happen so that we can help people live healthier lives.”
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded the successful study, with additional funding from the American Lung Association. “AIR Louisville is the first-in-the-nation-test we’ve seen of an end-to-end process that started with patients, people, and citizens, generating real-world, real-time data in an effort to identify opportunities to improve the public’s health,” said Paul Tarini, Senior Program Officer at RWJF. “This is a developing important trend, one we think will make big contributions to how we understand and improve health by focusing on upstream factors in our communities.”
The authors noted that participants reported joining the program for two key reasons: to improve their own health; and also to contribute to a larger community effort to combat chronic respiratory disease. This trend suggests that many residents may be open to contributing their data to something bigger.
“Cities exist to provide citizens the opportunity to reach their full human potential — no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or ZIP code,” said Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville. “No city can do this alone, which is why we’re committed to working with citizens, businesses, and nonprofits to undertake innovative projects like AIR Louisville that can positively impact the lives of citizens. This project is a citywide show of compassion for citizens who live here with asthma, and an example of how citizens can contribute their own data to help inform city decisions, and in so doing reignite their civic engagement.”
Propeller empowers people with asthma and COPD to live measurably better lives. In 2010 Propeller set out to modernize respiratory medicine, empower people to minimize the impact of asthma or COPD on their daily lives, and connect them to their physicians, environment, and community. Propeller’s information-powered approach to respiratory management guides physicians and patients to the optimal path of therapy for each individual. With connected inhalers, digital interfaces, and personalized insights, participants receive personal guidance and expert direction anytime. Backed by 3M Ventures (NYSE: MMM), SR One, Hikma Ventures (LON: HIK), Safeguard Scientifics (NYSE: SFE), Social Capital and other investors, Propeller has been used by patients with asthma or COPD in over 65 commercial programs across the US at major healthcare systems, payers, employers and other commercial partners, and clinical outcomes have been demonstrated in over 46 papers and abstracts in the peer-reviewed literature. The company has been recognized as the recipient of the American Telemedicine Association’s 2016 President’s Award for Innovation in Remote Healthcare, as one of the world’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company, and as one of the top “Fierce 15” medical device companies in 2015 by FierceMedicalDevices.