Allergy patients equally satisfied with telemedicine and in-person appointments
Telemedicine visits may still seem like a futuristic idea for many. But a new study being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Houston showed most parents of pediatric patients were more or equally satisfied with the treatment their children received during telemedicine visits for allergies and asthma.
"We surveyed 299 pediatric allergy patients or their families between 2017-2019," says allergist Mary Nguyen MD ACAAI member and lead author of the study. "Of those surveyed, 37 percent were more satisfied, 63 percent were equally satisfied, and no patients were less satisfied with the telemedicine appointment compared to their most recent in-person visit."
Of the satisfied patients, 76 percent indicated they were satisfied with telemedicine because of convenience. Patients appreciated not having to go to an office, either because of concerns regarding distance, or preference to being able to have a visit from home with the use of a screen. Two percent had chosen telemedicine because it was the earliest appointment available and five percent chose telemedicine because it was recommended to them.
"In areas of the country where allergists are in short supply, such as rural or inner-city communities, it can be difficult for patients to get to an appointment and telemedicine is a great option," says allergist Jay Portnoy, MD, ACAAI member and study co-author. "We know telemedicine can improve people's ability to see an allergist more quickly—something that's not always available without telemedicine. Telemedicine is also be a good option for treating existing patients in need of follow-up visits."
ACAAI encourages the use of telemedicine as part of routine allergy and asthma treatment. High-quality telemedicine provided by allergists can allow for chronic disease management, medication refills, educational sessions, test interpretation and acute or chronic disease state assessment."