A new position paper in Annals of Allergy, Asthma
and Immunology, the scientific publication of the American College of Allergy,
Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), recognises that allergy is one of the top
conditions patients seek care for using telemedicine. ACAAI supports the use of
telemedicine for allergy patients and hopes the new guidelines encourage more
allergists to use the technology in their practices.

“Telemedicine services are designed to provide high-quality
care, including making every effort to collect accurate and complete clinical
information during a visit,” says allergist Tania Elliott, MD, lead author of
the paper and member of the ACAAI Public Relations Committee. “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.”

Telemedicine technologies can connect patients with the
clinician without having to incur long travel times and associated expenses,
particularly if they do not have ready access or are unwilling to travel.

“In addition to expanding access to care, telemedicine can
decrease health care costs,” says allergist Jay Portnoy, MD, ACAAI Past
President and co-author of the position paper. “A 2014 study found that an
estimated 100 million e-visits across the world would result in as much as $5
billion in savings for the healthcare system.”

Telemedicine use for allergy care is likely to expand with
broader telehealth applications in medicine, although further research into
effect and outcomes is needed. Many allergists now do initial visits by
telemedicine to help determine if in-office testing is required. For certain
types of follow-up visits, such as a check up on how a medication or allergen
immunotherapy is doing, telemedicine can save time and money.

The optimistic conclusion of the position paper states, “The
ACAAI will monitor this rapidly changing landscape to ensure provision of
high-quality care to the patient with allergic and immunologic disorders and
consistency of practice in an era of futuristic technologies. Despite the
challenges, the current and future benefits of telemedicine are promising and exciting
for allergists, patients, and healthcare systems.”

Source: http://acaai.org/news/guidelines-support-telemedicine-effective-tool-allergists

Reference: Elliot
T, et al. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Position Paper
on the Use of Telemedicine for Allergists. December 2017. Volume 119, Issue 6,
Pages 512–517. http://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(17)31047-5/fulltext