How telemedicine is bringing high quality care to students

Jul 1, 2016 / Telemedicine success /
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Telemedicine connects doctors to patients remotely, and for school children and college students, this has great impact on the availability of high-quality care. Whether with the assistance of an elementary school nurse or at a campus clinic, physicians can examine students using video tools and digital examination devices and provide a diagnosis in real-time. From there, the doctor can give an attending nurse or clinician direction, electronically fill a prescription and also talk with the student to provide guidance and comfort.

For students, this provides important medical care without the disruption of leaving school for a traditional visit to the doctor's office. For school administrators and parents, telemedicine offers the peace of mind that young people have access to high-quality treatment at a moments notice.

 

For school age students

As telemedicine becomes part of mainstream care, it has quickly been adopted by local community healthcare providers, school administrators and parents to deliver access to quality care for children. Often families will be given enrollment forms at the beginning of the academic year, and informational resources are also made available. In this way parents can better understand the merit and logistics behind the use of telemedicine, encouraging communication and familiarity with the process.

 

The use of telemedicine in a school setting decreases the number of hours missed by students.The use of telemedicine in a school setting decreases the number of hours missed by students.

For students and nurses, this creates all sorts of new opportunity for keeping children healthy. As Parents online magazine reported, this is especially helpful when treating common childhood ailments such as strep throat or an ear infection. An attending physician or nurse practitioner can not only diagnose a specific condition but can offer guidance to the school nurse at the very moment the student is there for examination in the nurse's office, and provide a treatment plan right away.

This is essential for schools, as a trip to the doctor's office can be much more disruptive than a visit to the school clinic. For providers, this is also a powerful new tool because they are able to reach more patients and address their health concerns right away, avoiding possible trips to the ER for a condition that went untreated. Dr. Kenneth McConnochie, Director of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center  told Parents magazine that telemedicine can ease congestion at local hospitals by as much as 22 percent.

"In one analysis of pediatric emergency-department visits, we found that 40 percent were for non-emergencies such as rashes and other problems that can be diagnosed with telemedicine," said Dr. McConnochie.

 

Treating chronic conditions

While telemedicine is helpful in avoiding the occasional visit to the doctor's office, it can be instrumental for students that require long-term care. This may include students recovering from an accident, living with a condition like diabetes or asthma or mental health concerns.

 

In a study published by the American Thoracic Society, it was reported that students, nurses and doctors found that the treatment of individuals with asthma through the use of telemedicine was effective and more efficient. The average encounter was just 12.9 minutes long, meaning students were not asked to miss entire school lessons. At the same time, consulting doctors reported high levels of confidence in their prognoses.

Students in the study stated that they too felt comfortable with the treatment. Not only does this minimize the amount of time absent from school, but can make managing a chronic condition feel less stressful or alienating.

To learn more about AMD's telemedicine technology solutions for school-based health centers, see our Telemed ED clinical telemedicine system for education deployment.

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