Focus area: Physicians
Effectiveness of telemedicine on asthma patients living in rural areas
The fact that medical facilities specialised in asthma treatment are often located in big cities represents a serious problem for those living in peripheral rural areas.
In suchcases, telemedicine could be a considerable opportunity for managing asthma in patients who do not have the possibility to reach these facilities for the regular check ups which are necessary to evaluate the evolution of the disease.
In this respect, a study has been recently published comparing children with asthma traditionally followed with 3 and 6 months check ups carried out in person in specialised facilities located in a city and children with asthma followed in local facilities by applying guided procedures of telemedicine.
During the 3rd- and 6th-month check ups, both an objective and a subjective evaluation of little patients have been carried out (respectively, respiratory function tests and standardised questionnaires for asthma control); in both groups, an improvement in symptoms has been observed over time.
The group followed with telemedicine procedures did not show significant differences in achieving therapeutic objectives compared to the group followed with traditional procedures. Moreover, most of the patients in the telemedicine group showed a high level of satisfaction for the experience.
As a result, telemedicine systems have proven to be useful for asthma management in children. They also guarantee the right to treatment and considerablesavings in terms of healthcare expenses.
Ref: Portnoy JM, Waller M, De Lurgio S, Dinakar C. Telemedicine is as effective as in-person visits for patients with asthma. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2016 Sep;117(3):241-5