Humana Inc. is the latest local employer to join AIR Louisville, a new approach to improving asthma that leverages sensors, big data, and community collaboration.

AIR Louisville is a grant-funded program designed to reduce the burden of asthma in Louisville, Kentucky, a city consistently ranked as one of the most challenging in the US for people with asthma. The program aligns to Humana's local strategy to address respiratory illness among its employees and members.

 

Dr. Rae Godsey, DO, the corporate medical director for Humana, said that the bold goal is to improve the health of the communities the company serves 20% by 2020. About 8% of the US population has asthma versus 13% in Louisville. Chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma are responsible for higher health care bills for employers and a lower quality of life for individuals.

"Our ambitious goal is only achievable if we work together with organizations like AIR Louisville," Dr. Godsey said. "Our research indicated that asthma, allergies, smoking and other respiratory illnesses are significant barriers to Kentucky's health. AIR Louisville is helping us develop and implement collaborative strategies to remove these barriers and assist us all in breathing easier."

The AIR Louisville program is powered by Propeller Health, the Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil, the city of Louisville, and a coalition of seven employers, three healthcare providers, a health plan and three advocacy groups. The program uses Propeller's smart inhalers to help residents learn more about their asthma and reduce their symptoms. It also provides city leaders with valuable public health information so they can make more informed decisions about how to keep the air quality across the metro area clean enough to prevent asthma attacks.

Propeller Health provides an FDA-cleared digital health platform including inhaler sensors that record the time and location of medication use. It also engages patients through a mobile app and feedback in order to help reduce the frequency of asthma symptoms and improve outcomes.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded AIR Louisville through a grant to the Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil. This nonprofit is bringing together employers, doctors, insurance companies and advocacy groups to support a new solution for Louisville's asthma problem.

"The first person who joined our program said, 'I want to live here, I want to be happy here, and I want to be healthy here.' The AIR Louisville team is working to make asthma less of a burden for everyone in Louisville," said Veronica Combs, director of community engagement for AIR Louisville.

More than 440 people have joined the program so far from employer groups and from throughout Louisville, KY. Residents can find out more at airlouisville.com.