For patients with asthma and COPD, medication adherence is critical to controlling symptoms and staying out of the hospital — and never more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With hospitals overburdened with COVID-19 cases, it’s essential that patients with asthma and COPD stay home if possible, both to avoid infection and keep emergency rooms free for people experiencing coronavirus symptoms.
Fortunately, data from 7,578 Propeller users shows that patients are taking their preventative health more seriously than ever with the help of our digital health tool. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began to ramp up in January, patients have become 14.5% more adherent to their controller medication regimen, with most of that improvement noted in the last 4 weeks.
Propeller connects to a patient’s existing inhaler via a custom-built sensor. Using this sensor, Propeller tracks medication use and sends dose reminders, symptom insights and progress reports to the patient and their provider, helping the patient stay adherent, gain insight into exacerbations and communicate with their clinician.
- Since the first week of January, patient adherence to controller medications has increased steadily, with the most significant upticks occurring in the last two weeks of March.
- We also saw an increase in the percent of patient days with 75% adherence to controller medications, from 46.8% in January to 53.8% in March.
- During the first two months of 2020, patients adhered to their medications during the week but dropped off on the weekends, when their days were less structured. With people sheltering in their homes, weekend adherence has increased and become comparable with week days, which also experienced increases.
These changes do not appear to be seasonal. When looking at data from past years, we observed that adherence is typically higher in January than in March, suggesting these changes are attributable to the pandemic.
Although we can’t definitively state the cause of improvement in adherence, the trend seems to reflect patients responding to national COVID-19 guidelines out of concern for their health. Respiratory experts, including Propeller, have strongly recommended that patients continue their existing medication for asthma and COPD.
Patients with asthma and COPD that track their adherence to controller medications may also be more motivated to use their medicines as prescribed. Studies on medication adherence have shown that patients who track their medication use — in this case, via a digital health tool — typically demonstrate higher levels of adherence.
As this global pandemic continues, it will remain essential to keep patients who aren’t experiencing COVID-19 symptoms out of the hospital. A digital health tool like Propeller is an effective way to help patients manage their symptoms from home and stay adherent to their medications, as well as to allow providers to observe patients remotely and stratify them based on risk.
Previous studies have shown that patients who use Propeller to manage their condition have 57% fewer asthma-related ED visits and hospitalizations and 35% lower COPD-related healthcare utilization.
If you are interested in implementing Propeller to help monitor your patients remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak, please reach out to us at [email protected].