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Asthma-Related Emergency Room Visits Decline Significantly for Dignity Health Patients who Use Propeller Health’s Digital Medicine, Study Finds

Propeller Health and Dignity Health’s latest peer-reviewed study demonstrates the power of digitally-connected inhalers to enable better self-management of chronic disease


San Francisco, Calif. – December 10, 2018Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health systems, and Propeller Health, a leading digital therapeutics company, announced today the results of their new published, peer-reviewed study, which indicates that asthma-related emergency room visits declined by more than half for people who used connected, digital medicine to manage their disease.

Published in World Allergy Organization Journal, this is the latest study that shows how digital medicines can be successfully incorporated into routine clinical practice. Their use also contributes to improved outcomes, including lower rates of hospital visits and ER utilization.

The observational study found that, for Dignity Health patients using Propeller’s wireless inhalers to manage their asthma:

● Asthma-related emergency room visits decreased by 54 percent compared to the previous year.
● Combined asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations decreased by 57 percent compared to the previous year.

“We are excited about the results, which further affirm the power digital tools provide in empowering patients to better manage their condition,” said Rajan Merchant, MD, lead author and asthma expert at Dignity Health Medical Foundation in Woodland and Davis. “At Dignity Health, we continue to see Propeller’s asthma management platform reduce our patients’ use of emergency visits and hospitalizations and increase their use of routine preventive care, which helps keep asthma well-controlled long-term. When patients can control their asthma symptoms and resume regular activities, we’ve done our job.”

The study was conducted by Propeller Health in partnership with San Francisco-based Dignity Health, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital Colorado and National Jewish Health in Denver, and received funding from the California Health Care Foundation. The study investigated 224 patients for 12 months with a diagnosis of persistent asthma who were being actively treated for their disease.


“Propeller’s digitally-connected medicine uniquely addresses the disruptive effect asthma has on patients’ lives,” said Rich Roth, chief strategic innovation officer at Dignity Health. “This is a perfect example of the positive effect a novel technology can have in helping patients manage a chronic condition. When the sensor communicates more data to physicians, and patients have greater insight into their asthma triggers, outcomes improve and everyone wins.”   

The patients were given access to Propeller’s digital medicine platform, which provides patients and providers with information on rescue and controller medication use and insights on symptoms and triggers by pairing the patient’s inhaler(s) to a mobile app via a small sensor. The patients using the Propeller platform could use this information to monitor their disease and improve communication with their provider.

“Digital medicines are poised to change the way clinicians practice medicine and work collaboratively with patients,” said David Stempel, MD, SVP of clinical and medical affairs for Propeller Health and co-author of this study. “Armed with objective data on medication use, doctors are much better-positioned to help patients manage their disease and keep them out of the hospital when appropriate.”

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About Dignity Health
Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health care systems, is a multi-state network of 10,000 physicians, more than 60,000 employees, 41 acute care hospitals and 400-plus care-centers including neighborhood hospitals, urgent care, surgery and imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dignity Health is dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality, and affordable patient-centered care with special attention to the poor and underserved. In FY 2018, Dignity Health provided $2.1 billion in charitable care and services. For more information, please visit our website at

About Propeller Health
Propeller Health is a leading digital therapeutics company dedicated to the development and commercialization of measurably better medicines. Propeller creates products to more effectively manage disease and improve clinical outcomes for patients across a range of therapeutic areas through connectivity, analytics, and companion digital experiences. The Propeller platform is used by patients, physicians and healthcare organizations in the US, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit




Joann Wardrip
Dignity Health
(415) 438-5543

Rachel Fields
Propeller Health
(630) 901-8625

Publish date: 

Monday, January 23, 2017