Telemedicine for allergies has been endorsed by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in recognition of the care delivery platform’s capacity to improve patients’ adherence, outcomes, access to care, and costs. The organization’s latest policy paper outlines 14 position statements on telemedicine adoption, policy, and platform development as they relate to allergy and immunology care. Developed by a team of allergists with telemedicine experience, the position paper calls upon the allergy and immunology industry to support the “meaningful and sustained” development of telemedicine technology.
As noted by the ACAAI’s representatives, telemedicine offers numerous advantages to allergy patients. For instance, telemedicine offers more consistent access to the relatively small number of allergy specialists in the U.S., especially for home-bound patients. In addition, since most allergic reactions last for less than 24 hours, a telemedicine visit would allow a specialist to assess the patient’s condition immediately, rather than waiting for a delayed in-office visit; in some cases, the patient may even remain at the site of the environmental trigger during the telemedicine consult, enabling the physician to evaluate the scene and cause of the allergic reaction.
The ACAAI’s recommendations include the following:
- Telemedicine activities should take into account varying literacy and technologic literacy levels.
- Quality assurance measures should be enacted for patient satisfaction, outcomes, and physician performance.
- Real-time telemedicine visits should be held to the same standards as in-office visits with respect to both quality and reimbursement.
- Further research into the effects and outcomes of telemedicine should be undertaken, as telemedicine for allergies will likely expand into other medical applications in the future.
- A streamlined process for multistate licensure would enhance access to specialty care while preserving each state’s licensing and regulatory authority.