COVID-19: Unmasking Telemedicine
Telemedicine adoption has rapidly accelerated since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine provides increased access to medical care and helps to mitigate risk by conserving personal protective equipment and providing for social/physical distancing to continue to treat patients with a variety of allergic and immunologic conditions. During this time, many allergy and immunology clinicians have needed to adopt telemedicine expeditiously in their practices while studying the complex and variable issues surrounding its regulation and reimbursement. Some concerns have been temporarily alleviated since March 2020 to aid with patient care in the setting of COVID-19. Other changes are ongoing at the time of this publication. Members of the Telemedicine Work Group in the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) completed a telemedicine literature review of online and Pub Med resources through May 9, 2020, to detail Pre-COVID-19 telemedicine knowledge and outline up-to-date telemedicine material. This work group report was developed to provide guidance to allergy/immunology clinicians as they navigate the swiftly evolving telemedicine landscape.
The Role of Mobile Health Technologies in Allergy Care: an EAACI Position Paper
Mobile Health (mHealth) uses mobile communication devices such as smartphones and tablet computers to support and improve health-related services, data flow and information, patient self-management, surveillance, and disease management from the moment of first diagnosis to an optimized treatment. The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology created a task force to assess the state of the art and future potential of mHealth in allergology. The task force endorsed the "Be He@lthy, Be Mobile" WHO initiative and debated the quality, usability, efficiency, advantages, limitations, and risks of mobile solutions for allergic diseases. The results are summarized in this position paper, analyzing also the regulatory background with regard to the "General Data Protection Regulation" and Medical Directives of the European Community. The task force assessed the design, user engagement, content, potential of inducing behavioral change, credibility/accountability, and privacy policies of mHealth products. The perspectives of health care professionals and allergic patients are discussed, underlining the need of thorough investigation for an effective design of mHealth technologies as auxiliary tools to improve quality of care. Within the context of precision medicine, these could facilitate the change in perspective from clinician- to patient-centered care. The current and future potential of mHealth is then examined for specific areas of allergology, including allergic rhinitis, aerobiology, allergen immunotherapy, asthma, dermatological diseases, food allergies, anaphylaxis, insect venom, and drug allergy. The impact of mobile technologies and associated big data sets are outlined. Facts, recommendations, and an action plan for future mHealth initiatives within EAACI are listed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Direct to Consumer Telemedicine
PURPOSE OF REVIEW/OBJECTIVE:Telemedicine uses technology to connect patients and data with providers at a distance. Direct to consumer telemedicine is a rapidly growing segment of the industry. RECENT FINDINGS/RESULTS:The telehealth market has skyrocketed in recent years, making it a multi-billion dollar industry. Direct to consumer telehealth, dominated by the for-profit private sector, is the most popular form. Direct to consumer telemedicine is a subset of telehealth that shows promise in increasing access to and engagement in medical care. Quality assurance, reimbursement, and regulatory oversight are important factors in assuring appropriate widespread adoption.
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Position Paper on the Use of Telemedicine for Allergists
The integration of telecommunications and information systems in health care first began 4 decades ago with 500 patient consultations performed via interactive television. The use of telemedicine services and technology to deliver health care at a distance is increasing exponentially. Concomitant with this rapid expansion is the exciting ability to provide enhancements in quality and safety of care. Telemedicine enables increased access to care, improvement in health outcomes, reduction in medical costs, better resource use, expanded educational opportunities, and enhanced collaboration between patients and physicians. These potential benefits should be weighed against the risks and challenges of using telemedicine. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology advocates for incorporation of meaningful and sustained use of telemedicine in allergy and immunology practice. This article serves to offer policy and position statements of the use of telemedicine pertinent to the allergy and immunology subspecialty.