Telehealth helps asthma sufferers

Friday, October 8 2010

Telehealth technology has numerous applications for the injured and sick, as well as people just looking to get a regular check-up. Now, the video conferencing based health service could help make life easier for sufferers of severe asthma.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh examined 21 studies in which asthma patients interacted with health care workers via telephone, video conferencing, web conference or a combination of these technologies. More than 10,000 adults and children participated, from the United Kingdom, Portugal, the Netherlands, Brazil, Australia, Croatia, Japan, Taiwan and the United States, MedIndia reports.

For many asthma sufferers, the telehealth visits were able to replace lengthy and inconvenient hospital trips. It can also save them money.

"The potential benefits of telehealthcare include greater accessibility for patients, reduced time and cost expenditure associated with travelling, earlier detection of disease exacerbations and associated reduced risk of hospital admissions for asthma," said Susannah McLean of the University of Edinburgh. "These interventions are, however, not without risk and it is therefore important to study the effectiveness of such telehealthcare initiatives rigorously."