Propeller Health, Express Scripts Collaborate on Digital Respiratory Care for COPD and Asthma Patients

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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Propeller Health and Express Scripts recently signed an agreement to provide a novel digital respiratory care solution to help manage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

Propeller developed a digital solution that combines inhaler sensors with a proprietary software platform that can be used as a mobile app. The company’s integrated digital solution received 510(k) marketing clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2016.

Under the new agreement, Express Scripts’ patients will have access to Propeller’s digital sensors, so that their condition can be monitored remotely.

The service will be available to patients enrolled in Express Scripts’ Pulmonary Care Value Program, which combines specialized pulmonary pharmacist clinical support with patient engagement and quality-based pharmacy networks to improve healthcare at lower costs.

“Our vision is to help patients with asthma or COPD understand and proactively manage their condition, allowing them to breathe easier day in and day out. Propeller Health’s success in sensor technology empowers patients and enables our pulmonary pharmacists to provide the best care for patients,” Glen Stettin, senior vice president and chief innovation officer at Express Scripts, said in a press release.

Express Scripts members who participated in an earlier version of this digital solution saw an 80 percent reduction in average rescue events per day and, for asthma patients, significant improvements in adherence to their asthma controller medication.

There are two ways in which Propeller’s solution aims to improve care. The first is by Bluetooth. A Propeller digital sensor is attached to a patient’s inhaler and synced to their smartphone. Activity trends are then reviewed by pulmonary pharmacists within Express Scripts’ Pulmonary Therapeutic Resource Center, and patients are alerted if a rescue inhaler shows overuse or if use is non-adherent to their controller medication.

The second is via a mobile app. Propeller’s software allows asthma or COPD patients to track their symptoms and disease triggers, monitor daily asthma condition forecasts, and receive tips to encourage more effective self-management.

“We’re excited to partner with Express Scripts to bring the benefits of digital medicine and connected respiratory care to their members,” said David Van Sickle, Propeller’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “With data and guidance from Propeller, members can expect to improve self-management and to receive timely, supportive assistance from the clinical respiratory team at Express Scripts.”

In August this year, Propeller and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced an extension of their collaboration in which patients with COPD and asthma could use Propeller’s sensor and software with GSK’s Ellipta inhaler, to help them manage their disease.

The collaboration was first established in 2015. The extension followed a successful CE mark in Europe and the FDA 510(k) class II clearance of Propeller’s sensor and software, for medical devices.