April Showers May Bring Flowers, But QHSLab Seeks To End Springtime Allergies Altogether

Jessica N. Abraham

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Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness across the globe.

Estimated to cost more than $18 billion a year, allergies can play a major role in the massive expense both businesses and healthcare systems experience annually. This doesn’t even include factors related to paid time off, productivity-related concerns or the rescheduling of internal roadmaps due to last-minute “call-outs” or ongoing turnover.

Employees who miss enough work will often be fired. The training, retraining and the reallocation of wages all contribute to expenses absorbed by these businesses. Much of this equates to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) and poor HVAC ventilation systems, especially in old buildings in desperate need of rehabilitation.

For many Americans, 90% of the day is spent indoors. 30% of adults in the U.S. have some sort of allergy – and that doesn’t include over 40% of children. Outdoors, there’s pollen, mold and freshly cut grass. Sedentary lifestyles, pets, and even creepy crawlers can bring on allergic conditions at home.

We’re at a crossroads in medtech, where there are those taking massive strides to eliminate allergies altogether. One company, in particular, has made this its mission and has some pretty compelling numbers to verify this claim.

A Growing Demand for Specialists in an Increased World of Allergy Suffers

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It can be hard to get to a specialist, and it often takes a series of monthly “trial-and-error” visits before an accurate diagnosis – sometimes even years. There are close to a million private medical practitioners who are capable of caring for their own patients. However, not having the proper tools or monitoring capabilities has traditionally held them from that.

There’s currently a shortage of specialists, with, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), only 7,000 allergists and immunologists in the United States. Only about 3,000 of them, however, are actually board certified. And demand for these services will increase by more than 35% over the next few years, and the number of practicing specialists will drop by more than 7%.

More than 60 million Americans have some sort of allergy, but only about 35% actively seek out help. Together these immunologists will manage 16 million people and allergens – or roughly 11,000 patients per specialist!

What You Need to Know About Covid and Digital Health Services

In 2021, a survey was conducted, where approximately 22% of all physicians would report using some sort of Teladoc (NYSE: TDOC) -based healthcare service or remote patient monitoring product. An additional 31% had a clear intention of implementing virtual care and at-home monitoring products sometime in the near future.

In 2016, only 12% considered either of these options. But, we would quickly see this number shoot way up in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Equity funding in digital health globally hit an all-time high of $26.5 billion in 2020.

As a matter of fact, the National Health Service (NHS) reports, “In the four weeks preceding April 12, 2020, over 70% of routine GP consultations were delivered remotely, and 26% face-to-face. In the same period 12 months previously, only 25% were remote. All secondary care providers and 95% of practices now have video consultation capability.”

This drastic influx in the adoption of digital healthcare technologies is not merely a coincidence.

Nearly a third of all physicians, or roughly 300,000 personal healthcare providers, are members of the American Medical Association. At least 40% of them have acknowledged the benefits of adopting digital health solutions and are actively pursuing innovative technologies as a means of providing optimal healthcare solutions to patients even at a distance.

This is a 30% increase from before the pandemic – and this number continues to rise as technology advances. And it has helped shape the way doctors are able to help their patients going forward.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people were staying home. The world saw an increase in chronic respiratory issues, including respiratory allergies, such as allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. As a result, we, as a society, began to learn more about allergies as a whole.

In June 2020, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America conducted a study on 2,695 people. They found that out of all participants in the study:

  • 57% had asthma
  • 51% had a family member with asthma
  • 63% had allergies
  • 66% had a family member with allergies

The same year, Food Allergy Research & Education reported an estimated 32 million Americans had some sort of food allergy or intolerance. This included 5.6 million children under age 18, 40% of whom presented an allergic reaction to more than one food.

Allergen Immunotherapy to Treat the Actual Cause of Allergy Symptoms

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Traditionally, general practice physicians would have elected not to treat these conditions in-office and would have, instead, referred their patients to an actual allergy specialist. However, without the resources available to make an accurate diagnosis on-site – or the time to dedicate to just one patient – doctors would send each patient out for testing and generally chase down the results much later.

But now, the tables are turning. Fewer specialists are actually available to meet the needs of these patients, and technological advancements are already on the horizon. Doctors and pediatricians have begun diagnosing allergies within their offices and providing treatment just the same.

QHSLab (OTQCB: USAQ) is a publicly-traded company in the medtech sector founded by CEO Troy J. Grogan, a developer of AI-enhanced tools for doctors to engage in digital medicine. Its latest offering gives non-allergy specialist physicians tools and education for effective allergy testing and treatment solutions on-site.

Through its AllergiEnd® product line, the company provides primary care providers (PCPs) with the software, training and devices necessary to treat patients in-office, using value-based healthcare, informatics and algorithmically personalized medicine, including remote digital therapeutics.

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“To meet the increasing need for allergy testing and treatment by non-allergists, we removed the complexity and methodical flaws in typical allergy testing to provide a simple, broad-spectrum, allergy diagnostic, and immunotherapy solution,” reports QHSLab. “As a result, AllergiEnd® provides relief and treatment for patients who suffer from non-life-threatening but problematic allergies.”

What’s in the Toolbox?

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Providing proactive preventative healthcare decision support tools and drastically improving clinical outcomes – whether treatment or diagnosis – these tools are desperately needed at the frontline of today’s healthcare environment.

Within the QHSLab toolbox, AllergiEnd® serves to significantly lower the cost and inefficiencies of reactive allergy diagnosis confirmation, treatment, and specialist visits for patients suffering from a spectrum of allergy-related conditions. In fact, early prevention and wellness visits allow patients to avoid skyrocketing costs for their medical care of long-term illnesses that could have otherwise been avoided.

Most patients will self-medicate with over-the-counter medications at CVS Pharmacy (NYSE: CVS) or Walgreen’s (NASDAQ: WBA), searching for relief. And for many, this does work. It can reduce symptoms quite drastically. But in reality, it’s simply masking the symptoms on a short-term basis and is often accompanied by side effects that can come from the long-term use of antihistamines and steroids, which can often affect the liver. The immune system can also weaken, becoming more tolerant to these products yet more sensitive to naturally occurring allergies.

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Through testing, doctors can better understand what’s triggering this and any other problem, whether it exists in the environment the patient is in most often, whether outdoors, in the office or in the patient’s household.

Patient-derived history and symptom-based data will allow the doctor and the patient to develop a plan with a more curative approach and desensitization of those allergies. Through immunology, a patient would actually receive low doses of the offending allergen, and it would gradually be increased over time – until the immune system no longer sees it as a trigger. And therefore, it won't overstimulate the immune system, and the patient will have fewer allergy-related symptoms.

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As smart technologies are adopted, they’re added to the bigger picture. For example, a doctor will remotely monitor his or her patients, learning how often the patient is using his or her inhaler and can check in with that patient to see whether these complications stem from an allergy or something else altogether. This is where comorbidities, such as lung failure or anxiety may actually be the underlying factor.

Digital Health Risk Assessment for Screening a Patient Population for Allergy Risk

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Safe and easy to administer, the patented AllergiEnd® Allergy System consists of a disposable, one-time applicator and test tray that allows for easy allergy skin testing and access to the QHSLab Expert System, which provides further insight into the patient’s health discovery. The system uses no needles, and the results are available in under 20 minutes.

Going into this process, patient histories are gathered through a series of questions related to allergic reactions, possible contact with allergens and the severity of allergies once they’ve been activated.

Current assessments include:

  • Respiratory Prediction Test
  • Sino-Nasal Severity Test
  • Asthma Control Test
  • Medication Use
  • Health Behaviors
  • Quality of life and sleep disturbance

Many questions are dependent on the response of another, making them highly personalized to the individual patient. The system will identify the root cause of potential allergies and non-allergic conditions. Using clinically-validated algorithms, artificial intelligence and patient-reported data can be recorded and assessed in the early detection, management and possible reversal of various chronic diseases and comorbidities.

Someone with sinusitis, for example, may develop trigeminal neuralgia due to the inflammation and pressure building up around the trigeminal nerve. Chronic sinusitis may also wear down the myelin sheath around this nerve and cause significant damage. Likewise, other allergic conditions may be the cause of asthma.

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QHSLab provides allergen immunotherapy options through its AllergiEnd® platform to “treat the root cause of allergy suffering, not merely the symptoms.” Also, by finding a patient’s triggers and helping them to avoid those environments that cause the most agony, non-allergist physicians or pediatricians can potentially end their patient’s allergies forever.

“Research shows the relationship between allergies and other chronic conditions,” states QHSLab, “and a strong correlation between the improvement of allergy symptoms can improve other ailments, including stress, high blood pressure and asthmatic conditions, for instance.

In addition to AllergiEnd®’s diagnostic platform, the company provides patient-specific immunotherapy options in a primary care setting. The company offers two forms of allergen immunotherapy in the form of weekly, bi-weekly or monthly injections. Convenient sublingual drops are also available for those who don’t like needles.

Dr. Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) isn’t reliable. But true digital medicine directed by physicians empowers patients and healthcare providers alike. Through artificial intelligence, data-driven metrics provide healthcare providers with a solid foundation for more efficient and effective decision-making.

All details of physical and mental health are stored confidentially and away from prying eyes. The system allows both physicians and healthcare organizations to capture and store electronic patient information in a secure, HIPAA-compliant database.

The QHSLab platform includes:

  • Numerous screening assessments
  • Point-of-care diagnostics
  • Home therapeutic monitoring
  • Specialty pharmacy treatments

Increased Practice Revenue through Verified CPT Codes

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Primary care physicians are on the frontline of healthcare today and are often the first person a patient turns to when experiencing symptoms. By adding allergy testing and treatment from AllergiEnd® to their practice offerings, primary care physicians and pediatricians can help patients feel better by assessing the symptoms, severity, and frequency, providing a needle-free, virtually painless test offering treatments from their office.

Smaller, independent practices are now able to improve more lives, bring in additional revenue to their offices and meet with more patients on a regular basis.

The QHSLab Expert System is a proprietary, cloud-based software-as-a-system (SaaS) solution that can provide doctors with greater insight into their patients' ailments. This clinical decision support system equipment is the backbone of the patented AllergiEnd® product ecosystem. It’s also been peer-reviewed with naturalistic, ever-evolving attributes.

In 2021, a pilot program commenced, allowing more than 160 independent practices in the state of Florida to provide nearly 11,250 patients with thorough allergy diagnostic testing and the physician prescribed immunotherapy treatment for more than 1,000 patients who had miserable and debility allergy symptoms.

These practices generated approximately $3.8 million in total allergy testing insurance reimbursements with an additional $1.2 million in billing for all new customers who received allergen immunotherapy treatment.

Companies like Anthem, Inc. (NYSE: ANTM) and Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) actually prefer to cover early diagnostic testing for preventative treatment, as opposed to long-term illnesses and diseases that could have otherwise been prevented.

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The U.S. is the largest medical device market globally, making up 40% of the global medical device market overall. By 2023, it’s expected to grow to $208 billion as global markets soar to all-time highs. Lockdowns and telemedicine referrals drove the international arena to hit $432 billion in just two years, sending the entire industry on course to reach $658 billion by 2028.

The global allergy treatment market was valued at $24.65 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $40.36 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3% from 2018 to 2025.

Other companies operating in this market include testing and diagnostic tools, such as DexCom, Inc. (NASDAQ: DXCM), Pear Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: PEAR) and the Quidel Corp. (NASDAQ: QDEL), in addition to monitoring tools such as Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) for glucose monitoring, Biotricity Inc (NASDAQ: BTCY) for cardiac and pulmonary health, Inspire Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE: INSP) and ResMed Inc. (NYSE: RMD) for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and neuromuscular disease, and the DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO) for diabetes, hypertension and weight management.

DISCLAIMER: The author of this article holds stock in one or more of the below-mentioned companies. This article is meant to inform and educate. It does not and should not constitute financial advice.

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Jessica N. Abraham is a writer, designer and publicist, specializing in Business, Technology and the Jobs Industry. https://www.jessicanabraham.com | contact@jessicanabraham.com | Twitter: @jessicanabraham

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