Digital Respiratory Care Helps Patients Breathe Easier

Nov 15, 2017
Express Scripts partnership with Propeller Health provides digital Bluetooth devices to patients with asthma or COPD to ensure better adherence, track symptoms and triggers and receive clinical support.
  • Asthma
  • COPD

RPh Computer Article

Asthma and COPD place a burden on patients’ quality of life and can lead to dangerous and costly complications. One in 12 Americans has been diagnosed with asthma and one in 15 has been diagnosed with COPD, the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.

Yet, patients with asthma or COPD who proactively manage their condition breathe easier day in and day out. At Express Scripts, we leverage technology to empower patients and enable specialist pharmacists to deliver the best care.

Today, we’re proud to announce a partnership with Propeller Health to provide a digital solution to Express Scripts members using inhaler sensors and a mobile app to manage asthma or COPD.

Propeller’s digital devices enable remote monitoring for patients enrolled in Express Scripts’ Pulmonary Care Value ProgramSM (PCV), which combines specialized pulmonary pharmacist clinical support, patient engagement and quality-based pharmacy networks to improve patient care while lowering healthcare costs.

Using Bluetooth technology, a Propeller digital sensor is attached to a patient’s inhaler and synced to his or her smartphone. The inhaler activity trends are reviewed by pulmonary pharmacists within Express Scripts’ Pulmonary Therapeutic Resource CenterSM (TRC). When the pharmacist is alerted that a patient is overusing their rescue inhaler or is non-adherent with their controller medication, pulmonary pharmacists engage and perform counseling using patient-specific data.

Leveraging this data, pharmacists can identify trends that may have otherwise been missed. In one instance, a pulmonary pharmacist noticed a decline in a particular patient’s asthma control based on increased use of her rescue medication. The pharmacist reached out to the patient to discuss the underlying problem. Through the pharmacist’s questions, the patient realized her recent rescue events had only been occurring at work since she moved desk locations. The patient was then able to conclude that a co-worker’s perfume was actually triggering these asthma attacks.

Through the Propeller mobile app, patients with asthma or COPD also can track their symptoms and triggers, monitor daily asthma condition forecasts and receive tips to encourage more effective self-management.

Express Scripts members who participated in an early-stage version of this solution saw an 80% reduction in average rescue events per day, an indicator of the severity of their symptoms, and a significant improvement in adherence to their asthma controller medication.

By addressing the unique barriers to adherence and providing specialized clinical care, we are able to improve health outcomes for patients with asthma and COPD.

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