Tija's headaches a distant memory thanks to Virtual Immunology Clinic

A teenage girl stands between a man and a women who are standing in front of a wall in a garden
Left to right: Asta and Tija Kins with Head of Service Immunology, Dr Dominic Mallon
November 5, 2021

A dusty house is not a problem for most, but for 14-year-old Tija Kins who is allergic to house dust mites, the allergy was causing debilitating headaches that were interrupting her sleep, schooling and daily life.

Turning to immunotherapy, Tija’s quality of life quickly improved thanks to an innovative Virtual Immunology Clinic which opened at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) last year.

Led by FSH Immunology Head of Service Dr Dominic Mallon and supported by the South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) Innovation Team (external site), the service gives patients improved access and greater control over the coordination of their care whilst combining specialist assessment, joint care planning and GP upskilling.

“Since the first of its kind clinic started in January 2020, over 2000 patients have been seen with approximately half being paediatric patients like Tija,” Dr Mallon said.

“The virtual clinic has seen a sustained increase in activity, and with 37.7 per cent of patients discharged after first appointment and the FSH paediatric immunology waitlist eradicated,” he said.

Tija’s mum Asta said getting to the hospital for appointments while working fulltime would have been hard, so was grateful Dr Mallon conducted the appointments via Telehealth.

“We attended the hospital once and after that Dr Mallon arranged a script and immunotherapy locally for once a week six weeks, then once a month for the rest of last year,” Asta said.

Through telehealth consultations, immunology specialists can discuss test results and provide appropriate management advice to patients, with much of the management being able to be done at their local GP.

Asta said that Tija has gone from experiencing severe headaches, unable to handle bright light outside or leave the house to not having any headaches at all.

“It has been life-changing. We are just so grateful for this service,” she said.

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