One of the most compelling arguments for telemedicine is its potential to increase healthcare access by making care more affordable for patients and families, including those affected by asthma. This goal is critically important in the U.S. where the high cost of asthma care is associated with nonadherence to preventive care regimens and suboptimal health outcomes. In this clinical commentary review, we draw from the literature and our own research to identify opportunities for and challenges to leveraging telemedicine to reduce the financial burden of asthma care. Our interviews with 42 families affected by asthma during the COVID-19 pandemic suggest that, under favorable circumstances, telemedicine can meaningfully reduce costs, including those related to transportation and missed work, while still offering high-quality care. However, families also identified ways that telemedicine can increase costs. For example, some reported reduced access to support services and material resources, like medication samples, that they relied on to manage costs. In this way, our findings underscore the need for careful care coordination and communication in telemedicine. We conclude by discussing "the 4Rs," a structured communication approach designed to support cost conversations, increase care coordination, and help families reduce asthma care cost burden.
J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract
Leveraging telemedicine to reduce the financial burden of asthma care.