FDA clears Propeller Health remote monitoring platform for GSK inhaler as beyond the pill trend grows

The clearance permits companies that use medications with GSK’s Diskus dry powder inhaler for COPD patients to use Propeller’s platform to better understand how COPD patients used their inhaler between appointments.

A few months after the FDA cleared digital health company Propeller Health’ first collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim to use its remote monitoring platform with BI’s Respimat inhaler, the FDA has cleared another company’s use of the Propeller platform — GlaxoSmithKline — according to a company statement.

The clearance permits companies that use medications with GSK’s Diskus dry powder inhaler for Asthma and COPD patients to use Propeller’s platform to better understand how these patients used their inhaler between appointments.

The idea is that by tracking how patients use the devices Propeller’s platform can provide useful information to physicians to guide alert them to potential problems with the medication or the inhaler.

The Propeller system is designed to develop insights on patient trends and predict oncoming exacerbations and help reduce the frequency of symptoms and in asthma and COPD patients.

The clearances from the FDA mean Propeller system can be used with medications from Boehringer Ingelheim’s Respimat device (such as Spiriva Respimat, Combivent Respimat, Striverdi Respimat, Stiolto Respimat and dry powder inhaler medications utilizing GSK’s Diskus device (such as Advair
Diskus, Flovent Diskus, Serevent Diskus), the statement read.

Three years after Propeller’s digital tracking platform was initially cleared by the FDA, it’s been used in 35 commercial programs in the US, including major healthcare systems, payers, employers and other commercial partners, the statement said.

Pharmaceutical companies have been interested for some time in digital health tools that can  provide more insight into how patients are using their drugs to their doctor. As healthcare shifts from a fee for service to an outcomes based care model, companies view these devices as having the potential to add value to their drugs by giving doctors a way to more easily spot potential problems with dosages and other issues.

Earlier this month, Proteus Digital Health got approval from the FDA to use its swallowable sensor to measure medication adherence.

These FDA clearances shows how the maturity of some of these programs means pharmaceutical companies are moving beyond the perpetual pilots of these technologies and into market adoption. It also illustrates the convergence between the worlds of digital health tools, pharmaceuticals and medical devices to help address unnecessary hospital readmissions by providing the technology to spot potential problems earlier.  We can expect to see a lot more of these kinds of collaborations receiving clearance in the coming months.

Photo from Flickr user shawnzrossi