New study data published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology points to telemedicine as an asthma management option for children that is as effective as in-person visits to an allergist, according to a recent news release.
Researchers identified asthma patients who scheduled an appointment in the allergy clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Kan. Only those who lived far distances from the hospital were included in the study. Participants were given the option to switch to telemedicine visits or keep their in-person appointments. They were followed for a period of 6 months.
The telemedicine sessions were conducted at the patient’s local clinic. The telemedicine equipment including a digital stethoscope and digital otoscope operated by a registered nurse or respiratory therapist who was present for the duration of the visit. The allergist had the ability to see and hear the patient in real-time as well as pan and zoom a wide-angle camera connected to the telemedicine device.
“We found that children seen by telemedicine using real-time video conferencing and digital exam equipment was just as effective as in-person visits,” Jay Portnoy, MD, lead researcher of the study, allergist and past American College of Allery, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) president said in the release. “In addition, there were high levels of satisfaction by the kids and their parents, regarding the long-distance care.”
“All of those seen — whether in the clinic or by telemedicine — showed an improvement in asthma control over the 6 months,” Chitra Dinakar, MD, co-author of the study, allergist and ACAAI Fellow added. “We were encouraged because sometimes those with the greatest need for an asthma specialist live in underserved areas such as rural or inner-city communities where allergists aren’t always available. The study shows these kids can get effective care from a specialist, even if they don’t happen to live close to where an allergist practices.” – by Alaina Tedesco