HumanInsight The role of social determinants of health in the use of telemedicine for asthma in children
J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2022 Jul 18:S2213-2198(22)00704-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2022.07.005. Online ahead of print.
Asthma is the most common chronic health condition among children in the United States. The adverse impacts of social determinants of health often manifest in unmet health-related social needs, potentially contributing to worse asthma outcomes. With the onset and rapid spread of COVID-19 and the identification of asthma as a potential risk factor for more severe disease, our asthma program quickly pivoted to a remote access telemedicine asthma population management platform to best meet the needs of our most at-risk patients. Our practice provides care to a large proportion of Black and Latino/a/e children in urban areas insured by the State Medicaid Program and impacted by unmet social needs. As we pivoted to telemedicine, we consistently reached a greater number of patients and families than pre-pandemic and observed decreased ED visits and hospitalizations. About 1 in 5 families received resource touch points spanning categories of transportation, food and supplies, clothing, utilities, and rent. Overall, families reported positive experiences with telemedicine, including the ability to connect remotely with our social work and resource teams. Telemedicine may be an effective strategy for addressing both the medical and social needs of children with asthma at risk for worse outcomes.
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