Express Scripts, Propeller partner to make inhaler sensor more widely available

By Laura Lovett
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Express Scripts members will now have access to Propeller’s FDA-cleared digital platform for respiratory health. Today, the two companies announced a partnership which they claim is the largest respiratory digital health deployment with a pharmacy benefit manager yet. 

The Propeller system allows a patients to attach a sensor to their inhaler, which is synced to an app on the users smart phone. When a patient uses the medication, the system automatically sends information to a clinician. The app also uses the collected data to deliver insights and suggestions to patients. 

"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,” Glen Stettin, senior vice president and chief innovation officer at Express Scripts, said in a statement. “Propeller Health's success in sensor technology empowers patients and enables our pulmonary pharmacists to provide the best care for patients.”

The company reports that users experience 70 percent fewer asthma attacks, and take their doses on schedule 50 percent more often when using the sensor.

As part of the new partnership, pharmacists at Express Scripts’ Pulmonary Therapeutic Resource center will review inhaler activity trends and will be able to see when a patient is overusing their rescue inhaler or is non-adherent with their controller medication. The pharmacists can then engage the patient in data-specific counseling.

“We’re excited to partner with Express Scripts to bring the benefits of digital medicine and connected respiratory care to their members,” David Van Sickle, Propeller cofounder and CEO, said in a statement. “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.”

Propeller announced a collaboration with Novartis in February to develop a custom add-on sensor for Breezhaler, a Swiss pharmaceutical company. The respiratory health company is also a founding member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, which includes a number of other companies such as WellDoc, Omada Health, and Voluntis.  

Last month Propeller released Air, a free and open API that provides information on local asthma conditions.