‘It’s a huge opportunity’
MADISON, Wis. – Results from a public-private partnership this year between digital inhaler provider Propeller Health and the city of Louisville, Ky., show that digital health tools can help reduce the community burden of asthma.
“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, vice president of research at Propeller Health and co-author of the paper. “We think the potential for this collaborative approach is huge.”
AIR Louisville was one of the largest studies of asthma conducted in a real world setting, Barrett said. More than 20 public, private and philanthropic organizations collaborated to use digital health technology like inhaler sensors and a digital health platform to: monitor where and when local residents used their inhaled medications for asthma, assess the environmental conditions that might have influenced asthma symptoms, and share those findings with participants and city decision-makers.
Results show 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 real-world data points on inhaler use, combined with environmental data, also informed municipal policy recommendations.
Barrett said the project helped asthma patients better understand how environmental triggers impact their condition and then inform their conversations with their health providers.
“It improved their daily experience with their disease so they could live their lives without being held back by their symptoms,” she said. “It helped people be more confident in the self-management of their disease.”
Barrett said the project has drawn attention domestically and internationally from cities interested in conducting similar programs.
“This is a model that could also be replicated for other diseases that have environmental impact,” she said. “It’s a huge opportunity.”