For kids with asthma, telemedicine is as successful as in-person visits

The best treatment solution for children with asthma is to visit an allergist, but not every child lives close to one. A new study revealed why a telemedicine visit may be just as effective as an in-person visit to an allergist.

The study was published in the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's publication, Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

The researchers identified patients who scheduled an appointment for asthma-related concerns at Kansas City, Mo.-based Children's Mercy Hospital's allergy clinic. The patients were given two options: keep their original in-person appointment or change it to a telemedicine visit, that latter of which involved going to a local clinic where a registered nurse or respiratory therapist operated the telemedicine equipment.

After following the patients for six months, the researchers concluded that of "all [the patients] — whether in the clinic or by telemedicine — showed an improvement in asthma control over the six months," said Chitra Dinakar, MD, study author and ACAAI fellow. "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."

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