Yesterday Propeller Health, maker of digital management tools for patients with respiratory conditions, announced a new deal with CVS, Walmart, Kroger, and Rite Aid, allowing its members to tap into the retail giants’ pharmacy services through the Propeller app.
Propeller is best known for its sensor-enabled inhalers, which can give patients and providers insights about use, symptom triggers and environmental factors. It also has a connected app that helps users track these metrics.
Last year it added a new featured dubbed My Pharmacy, allowing patients ordering or refilling prescriptions related to their asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), from select pharmacies.
“We launched My Pharmacy in January with Walgreens and heard a lot of positive feedback from our users about the ability to refill prescriptions from the Propeller app,” Greg Tracy, cofounder and CTO of Propeller Health, wrote to MobiHealthNews in an email. “We also heard that it would be useful for patients to be able to access services from other leading pharmacies.”
WHY IT MATTERS
This deal also adds to the growing trend of the consumerization of healthcare. Increasingly companies are looking for easier ways to get medications and health services.
There is also a large market of people in the US who has asthma and COPD. According to the CDC, asthma impacts 19.2 million over the age of 18 in the US, and COPD impacts 16 million in the country.
“The healthcare system is complex, and patients receive care and guidance from numerous channels, including their doctor, their pharmacy, their payer and their employer,” Tracy wrote. “Our goal as a company is to partner across those organizations to make sure we’re meeting the patient where they are. In the case of My Pharmacy, we want our app to reflect the reality that patients have to refill inhaler medication consistently, and that they sometimes visit more than one pharmacy to do so. The expansion of My Pharmacy gives the patient a simple and accessible way to manage their medication from the app they use every day to manage their asthma or COPD.”
THE LARGER TREND
Ordering medications online is a growing industry. Last year Amazon acquired virtual pharmacy PillPackfor a little under $1 billion. This week Amazon rebranded from “PillPack, an Amazon company” to “PillPack by Amazon Pharmacy.”
There are also a number of other mail order pharmacies today. This includes Capsule, a New York City-based startup, that carved out its spot in the field with its hand delivery system.
Also coming into the space is NowRx, an online pharmacy specializing in same-day, same-hour prescription deliveries. In October, the company announced a $7 million Series A raise.
ON THE RECORD
“Our mission is to make life better for people with asthma and COPD, and that extends to investing in common, everyday utilities that address the logistical side of healthcare management as well as the clinical side,” Tracy wrote. “I love when we have the opportunity to build a feature — like My Pharmacy or our recent Find My Inhaler update — that makes healthcare more simple, enjoyable and accessible.”