Will gift cards motivate COPD patients to stick to meds? Boehringer aims to find out

Respimat inhaler

For COPD patients, Starbucks and Amazon rewards are now just a few healthy-behavior clicks away. A new program from Boehringer Ingelheim will reward Spiriva Respimat users with points for prescription fills, daily medication check-ins, and taking quizzes and surveys--points they can redeem for prizes.

Under the RespiPoints program, crafted along with HealthPrize, patients can turn in points for a variety of consumer rewards, such as Starbucks and Amazon gift cards.

For Boehringer, it's a chance to help patients stick to their treatment while gathering information along the way. The company will be tracking enrollment and adherence, and evaluating whether the consumer rewards pay off in healthier behavior.

“Most of the programs that we are aware of tend to focus on offering a healthcare-related product as a prize,” said Ruchin Kansal, Boehringer’s executive director and head of business innovation. “We’re trying to see if gamification around health when you provide consumer incentives to patients, will result in better adherence and better care.”

While the program will be used first for Spiriva, Boehringer hopes that it can expand it to its 5 other drugs for asthma and COPD, including Spiolto Respimat and Striverdi Respimat. Those meds also use its Respimat Soft Mist Inhaler drug delivery platform.

The target for now is Spiriva Respimat users, Kansal said, with the goal “to see if a program like this sticks and drives patient adherence.”

HealthPrize noted it has seen success with similar programs, It recently announced a significant reduction in “gap days”--the number of days between running out of a medication and refilling it--from almost 9 to less than one for a branded cholesterol drug among patients who enrolled in its program.

RespiPoints builds on another Boehringer initiative launched earlier this year with Propeller Health, that tracked how and when patients used Respimat inhaled medications to help manage their diseases, with more to come. 

“We’re in the process of launching quite a few initiatives supported through digital health technologies looking to address issues around heathy behaviors and enabling patients to take better care of themselves,” Kansal said.

Special Report: Top 10 biggest partnerships in drug delivery - Boehringer Ingelheim/Propeller Health

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