Pandemic Shift to Telemedicine Increases Show Rates for Asthma Visits

The use of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic boosted appointment show rates (as opposed to no-show rates) for children with asthma compared with a year earlier, according to a study presented at the virtual 2020 American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting.

The study focused on pediatric patients at the LAC+USC Breathmobile program, an urban school-based mobile asthma program in Los Angeles, California. In response to the closure of most schools in the area, the program transitioned from in-person appointments to telemedicine visits.

Allergist and study author Kenny Kwong, MD, and colleagues investigated patient show rates during 4 months of telemedicine appointments.

“We found that not only did kids show up for appointments, but their show rates were also significantly higher than during the same period in 2019,” Dr Kwong said.

The study also found that 90% of children had well-controlled asthma on the Asthma Control Test, a rate comparable with before the pandemic. In addition, clinician time spent with each child increased between 32% and 62% with telemedicine visits compared with in-person appointments.

“It’s reassuring and encouraging that the quality of care young patients, including those in underserved populations, received via virtual access kept their asthma under control,” said allergist and study coauthor Lyne Scott, MD. “This study shows it’s possible to move towards new models of treatment that increase access and convenience for the patient, and still maintain quality of care.”

—Jolynn Tumolo


Show rates for asthma visits during COVID-19 increased thanks to telemedicine. News release. Arlington Heights, Illinois: American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology; November 13, 2020.