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Medscape: Allergy Telemedicine Effective, but Regulations Must Change

Allergists in the United States, who have been slow to adopt telemedicine, have been forced to step up their game in the wake of COVID-19.

The hospital-wide adoption of telemedicine "went from 2% to 60% overnight," said Jay Portnoy, MD, from Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. "Our hospital was seeing about 400 patients a month via telemedicine; now we see 600 to 700 a day."

Allergists and immunologists had one of the lowest rates of telemedicine adoption, at 6.1% in 2016, according to a 2018 study.

"It was thought that because of skin tests and food challenges, it had to be done in person," he explained. "But necessity is the mother of invention; you take away the roadblocks and telemedicine works."

Patient Satisfaction

Portnoy has been advocating for increased telemedicine use for years. "It has never been patients or hospital support that has made it difficult to practice telemedicine," he said. He presented findings from a survey on the subject at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting.

"Only a very few patients say they prefer in-person visits; usually it's the ones who have technical problems," Portnoy told Medscape Medical News.

"Everyone is now saying it's surprisingly easy and more efficient," he said. "Physicians thought that patients would be unhappy, but they really like it; they find it convenient."


Read the full story via Medscape

Learn more about Telemedicine at Children's Mercy