Telemedicine for Allergists Effective But May Need Ongoing Policy Guidelines

Benefits could include expanded access to care, improved health outcomes, and lower costs
Benefits could include expanded access to care, improved health outcomes, and lower costs

HealthDay News — The use of telemedicine is increasing and can offer benefits in allergy and immunology practice, according to a position statement published in the December issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Tania Elliott, MD, from the New York University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues discuss the increasing use of telemedicine services and technology to deliver health care at a distance in the allergy and immunology subspecialty. 

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The researchers note that telemedicine allows increased access to care and could lead to improved health outcomes, reductions in medical costs, enhanced use of resources, expanded opportunities for education, and improved collaboration between physicians and patients. These potential benefits of telemedicine should be weighed against the associated challenges and risks, including issues relating to prescribing and licensing, disruption of the continuity of care between patients and physicians, depersonalization of the patient-physician relationship, and regulatory concerns associated with technology and reimbursement as well as security concerns and certain legal barriers.

"The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology will also need to 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," the authors write. "Despite the challenges, the current and future benefits of telemedicine are promising and exciting for allergists, patients, and health care systems."

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