5 ways to boost your healthcare practice in 2021

Every new year offers exciting possibilities, but it’s fair to assume that 2021 bears more anticipation than usual. At the center of the optimism is the arrival and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine–and the return to normalcy it will bring to communities around the country.

For healthcare providers in particular this can be a welcome reset, as well as an opportunity to evaluate how they can be more successful moving forward. Priorities can be reassessed, and new efforts can be pursued to adapt to an evolving marketplace. While all won’t change with the turning of the calendar, providers can prepare to do the most with their practices–and for their patients–by considering the following tips in the new year.

1. Expand your care through value-added care services

While accomplishing all of the above can seem daunting for practices, especially smaller ones, finding the right partners in care can help.

A value-added care services company that complements your patient care, such as United Allergy Services, can do more than just expand your services. You can leverage their unique strengths and bolster your brand at the same time. With 2021 right around the corner, and greater opportunities ahead, there’s no better time to explore your options and maximize your patient and business outcomes in the new year.

2. Adapt to post-COVID changes in patient behavior and preferences

The COVID pandemic has highlighted the importance of flexibility, adaptability, and innovation for all business. Healthcare practices are no different. The providers we work with that have seen the most success have leveraged technologies and services that have made them more adaptable.

Practices have seen a shift to low-touch, high-quality care due to the health and safety concerns of the pandemic. Fewer in-clinic patient traffic has given way to more telemedicine appointments and other methods to engage with patients remotely. While that may revert somewhat to pre-COVID norms, it’s important for providers to continue to explore who they can more conveniently provide care.

The United Allergy Services mode of treatment is well-suited to that shift. Our allergen immunotherapy protocol, available as either allergy shots or drops, is designed to be safely administered at home. Once prescribed, our allergy drops can either be picked up during an in-office appointment or delivered directly from our central pharmacy, giving you further options on how to flexibly offer care. Once a patient is on our treatment, our dedicated app, myAllergyPal, allows patients to track and log doses, access their allergy test results, and manage future doses and appointments all in the palm of their hands.

3. Strengthen your brand

Brand loyalty applies to healthcare patients, too. With practices differentiating themselves more and more through services, technologies, marketing and other methods of patient engagement, providers should consider their own best methods to strengthen their branding.

4. Digitally engage with your patients

It’s no secret that more patients are spending more of their time online and on mobile. Why not interact with them in those same spaces to share updates about your practice, topical health tips, and other pieces of information related to their care? Use of social media, email marketing, text messaging, and more can be valuable ways to bolster your patient relationships.

5. Be agile

It’s a common theme throughout the tips above, but worth closing on here. While providers must already consider a variety of dynamics on a daily basis, from regulatory and payer issues to everything surrounding their patient care, it is more important than ever to adopt an agile business mindset. Be proactive, take note of broad shifts in patient preferences, and demonstrate the ability to adjust to those preferences.

As a value-added services company, United Allergy Services has looked to support providers with that mindset. Allergies are among the most prevalent chronic health conditions in the country, making allergy care just another component of primary care. By working with us, you can lean on our strengths and expand your care while you focus on what you do best. Our services incorporate a variety of testing and treatment options and are scaled for a range of provider needs and patient populations.

Want to learn more about how United Allergy Services can boost your business outcomes in 2021? Complete the contact form below today to speak with a member of our team.


    'Tis the season for Cedar Fever

    In parts of Texas and surrounding areas, cedar allergies are one last health challenge in an already difficult year.

    2020 has been one for the ages, headlined by the widespread impact of the COVID pandemic. While Americans and the rest of the world await a vaccine, there are other concerns that can impact their health in the coming months. One of those is cedar allergies.

    Winter is generally not considered a peak season for environmental allergies. Grasses pollenate in the summer months, ragweed pollenates in the fall, and most trees release their pollen in the spring months. However, one tree that does so between December and February is mountain cedar. According to Thermo Scientific, cedar is one of the primary allergens in Texas, especially around the Edwards Aquifer region. It can also be found in parts of southern Arkansas and Oklahoma.

    Cedar is identifiable by its amber-colored pollen, which becomes ubiquitous from December through February. Its effect, often known locally as “cedar fever”, can lead to symptoms like itchy, stuffy, and runny nose, as well as sneezing and itchy and watery eyes for allergy sufferers. In more serious cases, it can lead to sinus infections or trigger allergic asthma symptoms.

    In a climate where people are already hyper-conscious of their breathing symptoms, cedar allergies cause additional stress. Could that congestion and coughing be allergies, or something worse? Providers that offer allergy testing can not only offer their patients short-term peace of mind but a path to long-term relief from the symptoms that bother their patients, now and year-round.

    While many allergy sufferers will practice a combination of avoidance and self-medication to get through cedar season, those are only short-term measures to combat the symptoms rather than the disease. Allergen immunotherapy represents a path to a long-term better quality of life, including during cedar season. With concerns such as the flu and COVID existing simultaneously, patients have all the more reason to seek understanding--and relief.


    Rural communities are big winners with value-added care

    rural communities ancillary healthcare services

    Rural communities in the United States are often underserved when it comes to access to healthcare. That's why National Rural Health Day is important; it provides a chance to shine light on the health challenges faced in rural America.

    Among those factors are distance, transportation, economics, and health literacy. Together, they drastically limit Americans in those areas from accessing the care they need, which includes the kind of specialist care that has traditionally comprised allergy services.

    This places a large burden on rural Americans suffering from allergies. Those with the time and means must travel longer distances to receive care. And, due to the nature of in-office allergy treatment, that typically means multiple long trips a week in order to remain compliant.

    The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) estimates that number at 57 million. When you consider that roughly 30% of Americans, and 40% of children, may suffer from allergies, there are millions that stand to benefit from better access to allergy care is evident.

    A 2014 report from the Rural Policy Research Institute notes:

    "Barriers to access result in unmet health care needs, delays in receiving appropriate care, inability to get preventive services, and hospitalizations that could have been prevented."

    Value-added care services can provide an essential bridge for those communities and millions of Americans. By working with local practitioners, such as primary care providers, value-added care is a flexible way to bring a variety of services into areas that may not be able to support a standalone specialist practice.

    The benefit, of course, is passed along not only to patients but to those local practitioners. By adding quality care that their patients need, these practitioners are able to operate to the full extent of their license. As such, they stand to see great business outcomes.

    At United Allergy Services, we take pride in being an essential value-added services partner. Whether it is food or environmental allergy testing or our home-based model of allergy treatment, our scalable solutions allow providers to complement their care to the level that they can deliver it, and that their patients need it. By understanding those needs, we have been able to help deliver outstanding outcomes to providers and, consequently, their patients. That includes in rural communities, where access to quality allergy care is needed more than ever.


    How allergy care remains both accessible and essential during COVID

    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the entire country. Its effects have been uniquely felt in the healthcare industry, as providers reshape how they see patients and as Americans grow increasingly aware of their daily symptoms: is that lingering cough caused by a cold, the flu, or something worse? 

    These are difficult times for many, and that includes the tens of millions that suffer from allergies. For them, a better understanding of their symptoms--and long-term relief from those symptoms--can provide an improved quality of life. What often stands in the way is access to care, and how that access can fit within the new normal that we are all adapting to.

    United Allergy Services is proud to increase access to allergy care that is safe, effective, and adaptive to life in 2020 and beyond. UAS was recently featured in an SFGate article from last month, titled "Treat Your Allergy Symptoms from Home and Avoid COVID-19 Fears." The article notes the value our model of treatment offers to patients:

    "The good news? These days, many allergies can be safely identified with minimal visits to healthcare providers and then treated from home. And that could provide better relief from your symptoms as well as greater peace of mind."

    Thankfully, United Allergy Services (UAS) offers allergy testing and immunotherapy treatment in a safe, convenient way. By working through your general provider to develop a treatment protocol that can be self-administered, relief for allergy sufferers can happen with minimal visits to the provider's office or pharmacy. In fact, after the initial allergy test, which is administered in the general provider’s office, patients can undergo the majority of their treatment from the safety of their own homes.

    UAS works with primary care providers to offer in-office allergy testing, and our model of allergy treatment allows for patients to self-administer in the safety and convenience of their home, either through the use of allergy shots or our proprietary brand of allergy drops, Allergy Allay Drops.

    "If you’re struggling with the misery that can result from seasonal allergies, you’re far from alone. According to the CDC, more than 50 million Americans are now dealing with some kind of allergy, making such afflictions the sixth most prevalent cause of chronic illness in the country. And with symptoms that can be mistaken for the novel coronavirus, seasonal allergies could be causing even more stress and anxiety for sufferers."


    David Boone on at-home allergy shots as potential long-term relief from "cedar fever"

    Winter doesn't spell relief for all allergy sufferers -- especially in Texas and parts of other nearby states, where the colder weather signals the beginning of mountain cedar season.

    Cedar is one of the most severe allergens in areas where it is found. While locals will recognize the heavy, amber-colored pollen, it's allergy sufferers who will be more aware of its presence, often referring to its effects as "cedar fever".

    In a recent story on the annual return of cedar fever, Robbie Owens of CBS-DFW spoke with a local provider and patient who have seen first-hand the benefits of our at-home immunotherapy treatment. Those benefits include an improved quality of life and a treatment plan that fits into their lifestyle better.

    According to UAS provider, Margaret Holland, M.D. of Baylor Scott & White Family Medicine: “When a patient comes to me and they’re having daily allergy symptoms, something where they’re taking allergy medicine every day of the year, that’s when I recommend our allergy testing."

    "10 months out of the year felt like I had a bad cold, felt really sick; coughing, sinus headaches; the whole thing," says patient Deborah Romine of Fort Worth, who's featured in the story. "It's very convenient, very simple... “I feel better... People don’t get up and move away from me in restaurants because I’m coughing and blowing my nose! I wanted to wear a t-shirt that said, ‘I’m really not sick, it’s allergies’.​”

    United Allergy Services CEO David Boone is also featured in the story, going into more detail about our services and how we're helping allergy sufferers find long-term relief from their allergies. We encourage you to watch the video below and click on this link to read the story in full:

     

     


    David Boone speaks with MD Magazine about bridging the gap in allergy care

    What can primary care providers and companies like United Allergy Services do to address the allergy epidemic in this country? UAS's Chief Executive Officer, David Boone, recently discussed that and more in an interview with MD Magazine.

    "It's a lifestyle issue, it's a productivity issue, it's a health issue that leads to a lot of bad complications," Boone said in an interview at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting.

    You can read a full transcript of the interview by clicking here, or watch it below!


    United Allergy Services' Hugh Spires on providing counsel in a time of growth and innovation

    United Allergy Services' General Counsel and Vice President, Hugh Spires, recently spoke with Vanguard Law Magazine about the work we and the providers we work with are doing to improve lives, as well as the role he's played in helping UAS push new boundaries in allergy care. You can currently read the article by clicking here.

    The article begins by noting our model, which looks to help primary care providers address the gap in allergy care around the United States:

    "As Spires notes, more than 60 million Americans suffer from allergies—be they the result of food, animals, drugs, the environment or numerous other factors—and allowing people to receive treatment through their family doctor is more convenient and less costly. The company’s protocol is also safe enough to be administered at home, so patients don’t have to go to an allergist’s office every week. Because of this convenience, Spires notes, UAS patients complete treatment at a significantly higher rate than the national average, and they also have a significantly lower risk of an adverse reaction than if they received treatment from an allergist."

    One area of growth that Spires and the article reference is a point of great excitement at UAS: Allergy Allay Drops, our company's imminent foray into providing sublingual immunotherapy drops. These orally administered drops, still in the pilot test phase as of mid-November, will offer a needle-free alternative to our core service line of subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots), allowing UAS and our providers to impact the lives of more allergy sufferers than ever. Of course, launching a new product line in the healthcare space requires a variety of considerations, including legal ones.

    "To ease fears around needles—and to accommodate patients with hectic schedules—the company has developed a proprietary formula for sub-lingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, in which drops are placed under a patient’s tongue. Because these would be among the first branded allergy therapy drops for humans, Spires is immersed in branding and copyright law, while establishing relationships with pilot clinics and working to trademark the name Allergy Allay Drops."

    As a member of our leadership team since 2016, Spires has been pivotal in providing legal direction while providing his daily guidance in all other matters to affect our company. We are proud of the work he does as our General Counsel and happy to see that effort highlighted by Vanguard.


    United Allergy Services C.E.O. talks about redefining the allergy care industry

    United Allergy Services' Chief Executive Officer David Boone recently wrote an article for D CEO Healthcare about the vital role that primary care providers can play in addressing the nationwide gap in allergy care.

    Boone addresses the limitations in how the healthcare industry has traditionally treated allergy sufferers -- most of whom, as he points out, turn to over-the-counter medications that "provide only symptomatic relief."

    Those who do seek out long-term help through allergen immunotherapy have typically needed to visit specialists, which poses its own problems. Boone highlights the scarcity of allergists around the country, especially in small towns. He adds that the amount of time and office visits required make this option prohibitively inconvenient for many allergy sufferers. With environmental changes extending allergy seasons, all signs point to seasonal allergies only growing as a national health issue in the years to come.

    "As more people fall victim to seasonal allergies and other disorders brought on by environmental variables like warmer climates, the healthcare industry must do what it can to keep up with the growing demand for high-quality, convenient care," Boone says.

    Fortunately, general practitioners can help. By working with ancillary companies like UAS, they're able to increase access to quality care to their allergy-suffering population. Patients benefit by remaining under the care of their primary care provider and from a treatment method that allows them to self-administer, safely, in the convenience of their own home. As Boone later states, maintaining continuity of care under the primary care provider is something that benefits all parties.

    "The fact is, allergy care is primary care," he says. "Access through general practitioners is especially needed in small towns where specialists are often scarce. Within primary care practices, better accessibility will help exponentially more allergy sufferers than can be handled by relatively few specialists. And expanded ancillary services can have a significant impact on the financial health of a primary care doctor’s practice."

    To read the entire D CEO Healthcare article, click here.


    Press Release: Nation's Largest Allergy Care Provider Celebrates 10 years

    San Antonio-based United Allergy Services continues to serve and expand.

    SAN ANTONIO (October, 2019) – Since its founding in 2009, United Allergy Services has grown into the leading allergy diagnostic and immunotherapy services provider in the nation. Headquartered in San Antonio, the company has more patients currently on its protocol than any other allergy service provider. Over the past decade, UAS has provided allergy testing to more than 525,000 patients, nearly 350,000 of whom went on to treatment.

    “We’re all so honored to have been able to provide life-changing treatment to allergy sufferers for as long as we have,” said Dr. Frederick Schaffer, UAS Chief Medical Officer. “With 10 years under our belt, we’re proud to be the leading organization in allergy testing and at-home allergy immunotherapy nationwide. We can’t wait to further expand our services and bring lifelong relief into even more homes.”

    UAS offers patients a proprietary approach that effectively addresses the root causes of allergies instead of just the symptoms. Initial patient testing is easily conducted with a primary care physician, after which UAS helps create a provider-recommended protocol. Immunotherapy decreases a patient’s sensitivity to allergens by building tolerance in their immune system through gradual exposure over several months or years. Protocols are designed with consideration for each patient’s needs and can be conveniently administered at home.

    At-home treatment has proved to be a main component in our continued growth and success in providing positive, long-lasting results. Patients complete our immunotherapy protocols at a significantly higher rate than the national average. Furthermore, patients who use our dedicated app, myAllergyPal, see an additional 36 percent increase in completion over those who do not.

    More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies and asthma every year, and UAS is working to provide convenient, comfortable testing and immunotherapy to as many as possible. With certified allergy specialists in over 500 locations across the United States, UAS has built relationships with nearly 3,000 practitioners and provided 33 million doses to patients, more than 80 percent of which were administered at home. UAS also provides practices with personnel, supplies, equipment, and marketing and patient materials needed for an integrated allergy center to function smoothly and efficiently.

    “We owe our success at United Allergy Services to the compassion and vision of our employees and the physicians who use our services,” said CEO David Boone. “Those who are on the ground changing people’s lives are the true driving force of our company. And to the patients who have entrusted us with your care over the past 10 years, thank you for putting your health and comfort in our hands.”


    United Allergy Services names new Vice President of Strategic Growth

    United Allergy Services has announced the hiring of David Cheetham as the organization’s Vice President of Strategic Growth. Cheetham will drive the organization’s expansion efforts to provide allergy diagnostics and long-term relief in a growing number of markets moving forward.

    A leader with proven results, Cheetham is a healthcare distribution executive with over 20 years of experience improving supply and access throughout the industry, from large companies to startups. Prior to joining the team at UAS, David was the President & General Manager of the Manufacturer Services division of AmerisourceBergen Corporation before he co-founded Sonexus Health, LLC. He went on to navigate a successful acquisition transition to Cardinal Health Corporation and subsequently ran the Specialty Pharmaceutical Services Division.

    “Adding a seasoned expert like David to our team will allow us to keep expanding our reach as an organization,” said David Boone, CEO of United Allergy Services. “Thanks to his valuable and proven skill set, we look forward to providing long-term allergy relief to more people than ever in the coming years.”

    Starting on the United Allergy Services team as a consultant in January 2019, Cheetham advised departments including operations, procurement and supply chain management, and payer relations. He currently manages UAS’ strategic growth, project management, implementation, and marketing teams, with an emphasis on strategic and sustainable growth through diversification.

    As Vice President of Strategic Growth, Cheetham will oversee United Allergy Services’ expansion into new markets, physicians’ offices, and product lines.

    “I’m honored to be a part of the team at United Allergy Services for this new stage in my career,” Cheetham said. “We’re leading the industry in helping allergy sufferers nationwide get the treatment they need. This organization has huge potential to expand its reach in the coming years, and I think we can do just that.”