Telemedicine for Allergy Services to Rural Communities

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. Nov-Dec 2019;7(8):2554-2559. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2019.06.012. Epub 2019 Jun 22.

Abstract

Telemedicine (TM) involves the use of technology to provide medical services to patients who live at a distance. It can be used asynchronously for interpretation of test results (spirometry, skin tests imaging studies), and for communication of information when the simultaneous presence of provider and patient is unnecessary. Synchronous encounters can either be unscheduled and initiated on demand by patients or be facilitated substitutes for in-person visits. The latter results in asthma outcomes that are as good as those for in-person visits while reducing the cost and inconvenience of travel from rural communities to urban centers. Facilitated visits can be done in the ambulatory and emergency department settings, and they can be used for inpatient consults when allergy specialists are not readily available. Both patients and providers experience high degrees of satisfaction with this type of visit. In addition, virtual visits performed using TM are cost-effective. TM offers a solution to the shortage of specialty care that is present in rural communities.

Keywords: Direct-to-consumer; Facilitated visits; Synchronous visits; Telemedicine.

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Rural Population*
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • User-Computer Interface