Researchers at UW Madison have found a high tech yet simple way to help people control their asthma.
Propeller Health makes an add-on device for inhalers that communicates with a smartphone that records the use of routine preventative medicines and “rescue” medications intended to open constricted airways. This gives the patient useful information on their smartphone or website about whether routine meds are being taken as scheduled, and it shows them patterns that trigger the need for rescue medicines.
“Over time, we learn when and where you need your rescue inhaler, and so we’re able to teach people something they may not understand: ‘When you are wheezing, it’s often high humidity and you are at work.’ With this information, you can take steps to avoid those exposures.”
To date, Propeller has raised $45.5 million in investment funding. It has 65 full-time employees, including about 40 in Madison and the rest in San Francisco. About one-quarter of the employees are UW–Madison alumni, largely from the Department of Computer Sciences and the Wisconsin School of Business. About 10,000 people are using the system in the United States, says Van Sickle, and the company is expanding into Canada and Europe.
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