David Van Sickle: Asthmapolis


Asthmapolis (now Propeller Health)

Better understanding asthma and significantly improving its treatment by equipping medicine-delivering inhalers with technology that will monitor and track when and where they are used.


Though 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma very few are properly treated. This is because little is known about when and where asthma sufferers experience symptoms, which prevents physicians from ensuring patients don’t experience more discomfort then is actually necessary.


By attaching a GPS receiver and rechargeable battery to a standard inhaler, the Asthmapolis founders have created a device that can track and measure a patient’s self-treatment. The inhaler transmits information about when and where it is used back to the doctor – who can use that data to tailor a patient’s treatment to their specific needs. Additionally, mobile phone-based interfaces send information back to the patient including feedback about how they can better avoid situations that bring on symptoms.

“How often someone uses their inhaler is one of the most important markers. At the basic level, we’re trying to fill in a lot of information about the patterns in day-to-day life. There’s a huge amount of data, but public health hasn’t been set up to manage a vast real-time data stream” — David Van Sickle, Co-Founder and CEO of Asthmapolis


Asthmapolis provides a better picture of how asthma works, where patients regularly experience symptoms, and what patterns exist in the larger population, thereby enabling more effective treatment.

“From a clinical standpoint physicians haven’t had a way to see how their patients are doing when they’re not in their office. With widespread use we get a new perspective of where and when it’s happening in the community in general.” — David Van Sickle, Co-Founder and CEO of Asthmapolis