About 200 Medicare patients who live in Phoenix will receive sensors for their inhalers this year that track how often they use their medication. The goal is to identify patients at the earliest stage of an attack or exacerbation from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and then prevent those patients from ending up in the hospital.
The inhaler devices were developed by Propeller Health, a startup company in Madison, Wis., founded by David Van Sickle, a former epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The sensors track medication usage and then send time and location data to a smartphone. If a patient begins to use more medication or is actively using a rescue inhaler, alerts are sent to a physician or caregiver, who can then intervene in the patient's care. “This platform is making it easier for people to manage these conditions on their own,” Van Sickle said.
The Propeller Health sensor and mobile application is only one of many mobile applications being developed to help hospitals solve one of the costliest problems in healthcare: patient readmission rates.