Problems and solutions in a resource limited environment
Published: May 4, 2022
Allergic disorders are an enormous health and economic burden on patients and society. Unfortunately, these burdens are unequally shared. One example of the uneven burden of allergic disorders is the disparity in healthcare access.
To illustrate the problem, Codispoti et al examined the disparities in asthma access in a paper published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. The authors systematically reviewed the available literature in CINAHL, Scopus and PubMed regarding healthcare access, equity and cost-effectiveness within allergic diseases. As most of the literature pertained to asthma, the authors focused on this particular disorder for this manuscript and identified 725 articles. There were health disparities in the areas of diagnostic testing (i.e. spirometry), access to specialists (including Allergists as well as specialists whose scope of practice focused on comorbid diseases), and asthma medications (for example, formulary restrictions and adherence). These are just some of the areas that the medical community needs to improve to meet ideals.
While the search identified areas to address, the authors also identified potential solutions. Bringing spirometry to the schools, increasing access to a clinician (by school-based interventions or by telemedicine) and digital applications have the potential to reduce health disparities. There remains a need to determine if these potential solutions reach their full potential.
The effort to reduce healthcare disparities represent what are likely one step in an ongoing, iterative process of best fitting medicine to society’s evolving real-world needs. We will need to periodically review innovations as they arise to improve access and equity in healthcare.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.