According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 50 million people across the country experience some type of allergy every year. This baseline number isn’t the only thing that’s alarming – allergies are also the 6th leading cause of chronic conditions in the U.S. Annually, this ends up costing the health care industry $18 billion, some of which is dedicated to emergency room visits and other trips to the hospital. These statistics alone make the management, treatment and prevention such a critical factor in maintaining a healthy society.
With the current condition of the health care landscape that’s dedicated to those with allergies – physicians, nurses and care providers alike could benefit from a helping hand. On-demand healthcare technology like telemedicine can offer a convenient option to manage allergies and treat reactions in a fast, efficient manner.
Improved care quality
Since its inception, telemedicine has continually grown as a platform that expands access to care to vulnerable patients in need. Since allergies have such a large impact on our nation, it’s no surprise that care providers feel telehealth can be a major solution to treating rural patients and reducing hospital admissions. In a position paper by the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergist Tania Elliot, M.D., the paper’s lead author said new guidelines to use telemedicine to address allergy patients aligns with exactly what telemedicine was designed for in the first place – helping vulnerable patients in need.
“Telemedicine services are designed to provide high-quality care, including making every effort to collect accurate and complete clinical information during a visit,” said Elliot. “Having mechanisms to facilitate continuity of care, follow-up care, and care coordination is vital. Allergists need to know the policies, regulations, and clinical guidelines in offering these services to their patients. These are the reasons these guidelines have been developed.”
“More physicians and specialists need to facilitate a solution that prioritizes symptom management.”
This is something to keep in mind as both the health care industry and the health of our society continues to transform. Chronic conditions and illnesses that cause allergies are steadily increasing, so more physicians and specialists need to facilitate a solution that prioritizes symptom management.
Expanded access to care
One of the major advantages of telehealth and telemedicine is the way it enables increased access to care for those who normally struggle to meet with a physician or specialist. While allergic reactions often need immediate attention, not every initial instance of potential vulnerability does. Telemedicine provides the chance for allergists to connect with patients for an initial consult to determine whether an in-office visit is required. Additionally, follow-up appointments can occur via telehealth instead, especially when the patient shows little to no concern about a reaction or the recovery process. This will save all involved parties time, money and effort.
Decreased health care costs
As addressed earlier, allergies have a major impact on the health care industry in terms of funding, due to hospital stays, ER visits and meetings with specialists. Thanks to telemedicine, these costs go way down. In a study, Paul Lee, director and head of Global TMT Research at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited predicted by the end of 2014, 100 million-visits via telemedicine would save the health care system as much as $5 billion. To ensure these savings can be met, physicians need to expand their scope of care, which means more states need to be on board to licensure.
“But vital to expanding telemedicine care in the US is a streamlined process for multistate licensure,” said allergist Jay Portnoy, MD, co-author of the position paper. “That would improve access to specialty care while allowing states to retain individual licensing and regulatory authority.”
The potential challenges faced by patients with allergic or immunologic disorders in the future seem minuscule if telemedicine is involved. This technology is promising for those living with allergies, as well as the specialists who want to increase care access in the near future.
At AMD Global Telemedicine, we’re constantly working to improve our solutions to meet the demands of health care. If you’re looking for something that enables a more convenient and effective treatment option for allergy patients, telemedicine is in your future. Learn more about our platform by connecting with us directly today.
Want to learn more about on-demand telemedicine? Don’t hesitate to reach out!