Asthma symptoms impact approximately 26 million Americans – 19 million adults and 7 million children. These symptoms are one of the leading causes of absences from work and school. In order to keep asthma symptoms under control, it is critical that patients have a good understanding of their condition and are adherent to their medications.
The Challenge of Nonadherence
On average, 55.2% of people with asthma are nonadherent to medications that control their symptoms. One of the leading causes of nonadherence for people with asthma is forgetfulness and/or improper technique when using an inhaler. In addition, many people aren’t fully aware of key environmental triggers that cause asthma attacks. These problems put people at risk and oftentimes result in expensive urgent care or emergency room visits.
Helping Patients Better Understand Triggers and Control Symptoms
In partnership with more than 30 clients, Express Scripts is testing an advanced asthma solution that combines high-tech inhaler sensors synced with patients’ smartphones. The inhaler activity is monitored live by pharmacists within the Pulmonary Therapeutic Resource CenterSM (TRC).
Patients use their smartphone to track inhaler usage and understand triggers including environmental data, such as climate, that might be causing their asthma attacks. When the Pulmonary TRC observes abnormal usage of a patient’s rescue inhaler – over-usage of a rescue inhaler often indicates nonadherence to a controller medication – a phone call is made and counseling is performed using patient specific data.
Preliminary results show that this program is delivering a meaningful improvement in how patients with asthma are balancing the use of their controller and rescue medications. Patients in the program are experiencing a 58% reduction in average rescue events per day and a 6.8% increase in adherence to controller medications.
Our vision is to help patients with asthma understand and proactively manage their condition, allowing them to breathe easier day in and day out.
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