CommonSpirit study: Digital inhalers provide more accurate tracking of asthma triggers

Data collected by Propeller Health's digitally connected inhalers proved the extent of the effects ozone exposure can have on asthma patients, according to a study by Propeller and Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health.

In the study, which was also conducted in partnership with researchers from the University of California Berkeley and UC San Francisco, and was published in Environment International, 287 asthma patients were given digital inhalers to track and manage their symptoms. The patients were all based in California's Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, which both report higher-than-average numbers of asthma-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits.

By studying the medication date, time and location data gathered by the inhalers, researchers were able to identify a strong positive correlation between ozone levels in a patient's environment and their asthma symptoms.

"The data we are now able to collect and analyze on environmental conditions helps us more closely engage with our patients so we can help keep them healthier and improve their quality of life," Rajan Merchant, MD, co-author of the study and a practicing physician and asthma expert at CommonSpirit's Dignity Health Medical Foundation, said in a statement. "Incorporating digital health tools into medical treatment allows us to extend care beyond the clinic and deepen our understanding of how patients are impacted by the environment on a daily basis."

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