142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Technology-driven asthma data program to inform regional policy: The municipal perspective

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Ted Smith, PhD , Economic Growth and Innovation, Louisville Metro Government, Louisville, KY
Justine Marcus, BA , Propeller Health, San Francisco, CA
Meredith Barrett, PhD , Propeller Health, San Francisco, CA
Olivier Humblet, ScD , Propeller Health, San Francisco, CA
David Van Sickle, PhD , Propeller Health, Madison, WI

Asthma causes an annual 25 million days of missed work and school nationally. Louisville shoulders this impact disproportionately with the fourth highest adult asthma prevalence rate in the United States (10.4%) and its designation by The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America as one of the nation’s top 20 “most challenging” cities to live with asthma.  Asthma in Louisville negatively impacts childhood educational achievement, employee productivity, pension-related healthcare costs and regional business growth.


In order to address the morbidity and economic burden of the disease, the City of Louisville partnered with Propeller Health to determine how an integrated asthma data program could inform municipal policy and agenda setting.


Participating residents of the Louisville Metro area received electronic sensors to track the frequency of use of their rescue and controller medications for 13 months. For 12 months of the program, participants gained access to smartphone and web-based applications designed to improve asthma self-management.


Inhaler sensor data were merged with over 40 relevant environmental and socioeconomic datasets to identify trends in inhaler use. Relevant public health findings championed a focus on asthma and environmental health within specific goals in the 2012 Louisville Strategic Plan and guided the selection of health indicators for Healthy Louisville 2020. The associations between asthma severity, impervious surface and green space provided evidence-based support for other plan goals, including the planting of 10,000 new trees, revitalizing parks, and upgrading sidewalks and roadways (Strategic Plan Goals 20, 11 and 1).


The program demonstrated proof of concept to inform municipal policy through programs that combined personal health data with disparate, public data sources that can address socioeconomic determinants of health in Louisville. Municipal leaders use this information to inform strategic planning and target resources to both improve health and encourage economic growth.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the negative impacts of asthma on the Louisville regional economy. List applications of linking population health to socioeconomic and environmental determinants to inform regional strategic planning. Discuss specific strategic objectives of the Louisville municipal government related to population health. Identify ways in which the sensor-driven asthma program supports those initiatives.

Keyword(s): Decision-Making, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Chief of Economic Growth and Innovation at Louisville Metro Government, and have been involved in the development of this asthma program since its initiation. My experience in local government is supplemented by my experiences with national policy at the US Department of Health & Human Services.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.