Propeller, Express Scripts Partner to Monitor Asthma, COPD Patients

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Propeller Health, a startup developing Internet-connected inhalers and complementary software to help people with respiratory disease manage their conditions, announced a new partnership with Express Scripts Thursday aimed at monitoring sensor-captured data to ensure patients are taking their medications as prescribed.

Madison, WI-based Propeller’s tools are designed for patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX), based in St. Louis, is one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit managers. Organizations in that category administer prescription drug programs for commercial and government-provided health plans.

Under the terms of the agreement, Propeller will provide its system—which combines sensors, mobile apps, and software analytics—to patients enrolled in Express Scripts’ Pulmonary Care Value Program.

These patients will receive inhalers with sensors that gather data on usage, environmental conditions, and other factors, Propeller says. The data are automatically routed to the Propeller mobile app—available for both iOS and Android devices—via a Bluetooth connection.

Propeller says that Express Scripts will review inhaler activity trends among patients who are enrolled in the company’s Pulmonary Care Value Program and given sensor-equipped inhalers. If a patient isn’t taking her medications as prescribed or is using her rescue inhaler too frequently, one of the pulmonary pharmacists Express Scripts employs will follow up with the patient, Propeller says.

“Propeller Health’s success in sensor technology empowers patients and enables our pulmonary pharmacists to provide the best care for patients,” Glen Stettin, chief innovation officer at Express Scripts, says in a prepared statement.

The two companies conducted a pilot version of the data-sharing program, and Express Scripts members who participated made major strides in their compliance with asthma medication prescriptions, Propeller says.

Propeller did not disclose financial terms of its agreement with Express Scripts in a press release announcing the collaboration.

Launched in 2010, Propeller has forged several partnerships with large healthcare businesses in recent years. The startup’s other collaborators include Aptar Pharma, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK), and Novartis (NYSE: NVS).