Washington D.C.: A new study in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows telemedicine for the treatment of asthma can be as effective as an in-person visit.
Jay Portnoy, an allergist, said: "We found that children seen by telemedicine using real-time video conferencing and digital exam equipment was just as effective as in-person visits." Adding, "In addition, there were high levels of satisfaction by the kids and their parents, regarding the long-distance care."
The study identified the patients, who scheduled an appointment to be seen for asthma and who lived long distances from the hospital. They were offered a choice of keeping their original in-person appointment or changing it to a telemedicine visit.
The telemedicine option involved a visit to a local clinic. The control group of patients was seen at the allergy clinic. The two groups were followed over six months.
The telemedicine sessions required a registered nurse or respiratory therapist at the site to operate the telemedicine equipment. This allowed the allergist to see and hear the patient in real-time, and to pan and zoom a wide-angle camera.
There was a digital stethoscope for listening to heart and lungs, and a digital otoscope for examining ears and nose.
Allergist Chitra Dinakar said, "All of those seen whether in the clinic or by telemedicine - showed an improvement in asthma control over the 6 months. 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."
The research was published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology journal....