Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Collaborates with Propeller Health to Support Consumers with COPD

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio announced the rollout of a new program to help improve health outcomes for Ohio consumers enrolled in Anthem’s Medicare Advantage health plans who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

In partnership with Propeller Health, Anthem will provide small sensors that attach to customers’ existing inhalers, along with a mobile app that will automatically track medication use and provide personal feedback and insights that help patients manage and cope with their symptoms.

Using data gathered from the sensors, providers will be able to chart a patient’s medication management patterns and adjust as needed. They can also use the app to collaborate with their patients, sending messages of support or working together to improve those patients’ care plans.

Anthem’s care management team will use Propeller’s online provider portal to help understand consumers’ progress in managing their COPD. With that information, they will provide more targeted, personalized care and treatment.

Through collaboration with Propeller Health, Anthem is continuing its trend of using mobile health technology to improve health outcomes and engage with patients between doctor visits. The payer market sees programs like this as an opportunity to boost member engagement and cut down on expensive medical services that happen when a patient doesn’t manage his or her health.

“Ultimately, this fits into our bigger strategy of expanding our footprint and using digital technology to improve care and reduce costs around readmissions,” Linda Hotchkiss, MD, managing medical director of Anthem’s Medicare Advantage Central Region, told Fierce Healthcare.

In order to be eligible for the Anthem/Propeller Health program, consumers need a history of at least one emergency department visit or hospitalization caused by COPD.

Hotchkiss said that although there is currently no cure for COPD, a lot can be done to help patients treat their disease. “This collaboration between Anthem and Propeller gives individuals access to connected care technology that will help them more easily manage their COPD, in order to help them have a better life. Anthem will continue to focus on improving consumers’ healthcare experience by increasing access to high-quality, meaningful solutions,” she said.

“We’re excited to partner with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio to bring the benefits of digital medicine to Anthem’s consumers who suffer from COPD,” said Propeller Co-Founder and CEO David Van Sickle. “The insights and feedback from our platform helps people suffering from COPD control their symptoms and strengthen the relationship with their care providers.”

“Once [patients] can see how they are using their medication and get these insights from talking with their doctor about the patterns that show up, I think you’ll see people begin to suffer less and control their symptoms more,” Hotchkiss said.

McKesson Ventures portfolio company Propeller Health is a digital therapeutics company dedicated to the development and commercialization of measurably better medicines. The company creates products to more efficiently treat disease and improve clinical outcomes for patients across a range of therapeutic areas through connectivity, analytics, and companion digital experiences.

Propeller was founded in 2007 and soon developed a digital health platform for asthma patients. The company later expanded its reach to other chronic conditions, such as COPD. Propeller has partnered with GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim to develop custom sensors for inhalers, and just recently it announced a partnership with Aptar Pharma to develop new mobile health technology, including injectibles and ingestibles.