Asthma is one of the most common childhood chronic diseases in the United States. In fact, about 10% of all children in the United States have asthma. Although asthma, once diagnosed, can be managed by taking the necessary medication regularly, minority children from low-income families may not have access to these medical interventions. Consequently, such children can end up suffering from life-threatening flare-ups necessitating costly emergency room visits and even hospitalization.

According to the research study that expanded a study previously done by URMC and published in JAMA Pediatrics, asthmatic children taking medication in school under the care of their school nurse are less susceptible to severe asthma attacks.

The study further indicated that the telemedicine component of the program makes it more sustainable and effective since it allows children’s primary care providers to more readily get involved in the children’s care.

The research study involved some 400 children aged between 3 and 10. The researchers divided their sample into two groups. The children in the first group were given an initial asthma assessment and given medication by school-based nurses. The children in this group then received follow up primary care via telemedicine. The children in the second group were only given the necessary recommendations for primary care.

They were not enrolled in the school-based care, and there were no follow-up visits through telemedicine. After the study, it was established that children in the first group were less susceptible to the symptoms of asthma. In fact, only 7% of them required hospitalization or emergency room visit in the course of the study, compared to 15% in the second group.

Jill Halterman, Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics at URMC, indicated that although researchers and clinicians around the country are making deliberate efforts to reach the underserved asthmatic children in their communities, there are still children who suffer from dangerous asthma issues for failing to take their medication regularly.

Fortunately, the integration of telemedicine with the school-based care is significantly enhancing the consistency and effectiveness of asthma treatment among children. This model can, therefore, be employed to children all over the country to ensure that they get adequate asthma treatment at the minimum cost possible.