Aluna representative Lex Flippen sat down with Dr. Ricardo Tan to discuss the role of digital health solutions as a viable means of monitoring and treating allergies and immunology. Dr. Tan, a valued member of the California Allergy and Asthma Medical Group team, offers 20 years of experience as a nationally and internationally recognized practitioner. He completed his fellowship in allergy and clinical immunology at UCLA Medical Center and was even named as a Southern California Super Doctor by Los Angeles magazine.
This interview serves to offer insight into the questions and concerns related to allergies and immunology. As digital health solutions have grown and become a more viable option, it has led many to wonder whether or not it is an effective way to help their patients who suffer from allergy or immunology issues. Lex and Dr. Tan address those questions while offering great information on the subject as a whole.
Q: “What inspired you to become a medical doctor and why do you specialize in allergy and Immunology?”
“I’ve always been interested in science growing up. And I always felt that going into medicine would help me pursue that interest as well as have a career that involves helping people. I decided on allergy and immunology while I was doing my internal medicine residency.
Allergy is such a fascinating field. It includes everything from the respiratory system to the skin. And I don’t have to tell you about immunology. In the last 20 years, it’s also kind of exploded. So almost all conditions now we’re finding have an immunologic basis. So for me, it’s very fulfilling, as well as still a very fascinating field for me.”
Q: “What made you adopt digital Health Solutions into your practice, and what patient demographics, in your opinion, are best suited for those solutions?”
“I think, in this day and age, considering how much of our home life and personal life involves digital solutions, it’s really something that the medical field, maybe has been slow to adopt, especially doctors.
Actually, to be honest, we’re so used to doing things the old way with paper, and in-person visits. But I think that’s not the way of the future. It’s important to be where our patients are, which is, doing most of their personal activities and career activities through digital means. So there’s no reason why they shouldn’t take care of their medical health the same way.”
Q: “In your opinion, what patient demographics are best suited for those solutions?”
“The ones that will adopt it quickly. I found our younger patients, they’re the ones that have the least resistance. All their patients, above 65 may have some challenges, but I really think there’s no limit, everybody medically speaking. All demographics that have respiratory issues should be the target for any RPM.”
Q: “What advice would you offer a physician that also wants to start implementing digital health solutions into their practice?”
“I think most physicians nowadays are very busy with administrative stuff, and they may not want to take that leap. They may think it’s too complicated. But I really urge them to give it a try, to look at the system and have their staff involved. Give it a try and see how the patients like it. And I really think they won’t regret the time they spent on it. It’s not as hard as it looks to implement and the benefits are enormous.”
Q: “How do you think RPM and the utilization of digital health solutions will evolve, specifically respiratory health care over the next five years?”
“I believe that over the next five years, more and more physicians, not just allergy, will appreciate the benefits of having reliable, accurate spirometry readings available to them at all times, especially when the patients are at home.
Over the years, we’ve relied only on in-person spirometry. Previous devices were not too reliable. But now that we have Aluna, we can really use this objective tool. I think that more and more physicians realize the benefits were their patients were better controlled for better-targeted treatment, that the adoption of this in the next five years will really increase.”
Q: “Would you share with me how Aluna or how RPM over time has helped improve your patient outcomes and given your patients more control of their disease?”
“Based on the NIH asthma guidelines, we monitor several factors to give us an idea of the patient’s severity and control. And the major factors are the patient’s symptoms, of course, their use of medication, and objective pulmonary measurements like spirometry.
If we only rely on the symptoms, and what the patients tell us in terms of how often they’re using the rescue medications, for example, we’re missing a huge part of the patient’s true status. So if we have all that the outcomes improve, and that includes fewer hospital visits, less unplanned visits, less use of medications, including steroids and antibiotics, and in general, just keeping the patient healthy.”
Q: “How are you able to treat more patients using this device than you’d be able to treat in person with COVID, restrictions.”
“It definitely helps if they can send us their Aluna readings. I can review it while I’m looking at them while I’m seeing how they breathe on the video. And that really makes a big difference for doctors because, even in person, the patient’s appearance or physical exam may not necessarily correlate directly with their spirometry, but the spirometry is very important.”
The use of RPM in healthcare as a viable means of monitoring patients has become increasingly common. However, many healthcare professionals still have questions. If you want to know more about how RPM could help your healthcare proactive, contact us today!