How School Systems are Using Telemedicine

How School Systems are Using Telemedicine

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Every parent dreads a phone call from the school nurse. If your child has been sent to the nurse with a tummy ache, boo-boo, sniffle, or other ailment, chances are you’re going to have to take time off work to head to the school and assess the situation. In some cases, the event is serious enough to warrant taking your child home or to their pediatrician for further diagnosis and treatment.

Unfortunately, in many cases you’ll find that the trip was unnecessary. Your child is virtually fine and you’ve wasted a precious sick day and have fallen behind on your work in the process. Wouldn’t it be great if school nurses had other resources to draw on before they called in parents over something easy to fix?

Telemedicine is emerging as a potential solution for this age-old problem. What exactly is telemedicine? How can it help schools and their nursing staff to better treat ailing students while keeping down costs and allowing parents to trust the care their children receive? Here are a few things you should know.

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine includes both telecommunications technologies and practices designed to offer remote assistance and monitoring capabilities for the purposes of diagnosis and treatment of patients. Many healthcare facilities are turning to telemedicine solutions to reduce the workload on doctors, cut back on unnecessary office visits, and cater to patients that live in remote locations and/or suffer from ailments that make it difficult to leave the home.

How are School Systems Using Telemedicine?

There are a couple of different ways in which schools can utilize telemedicine technology. For one, school nurses gain access to virtual support staff thanks to the opportunity to consult with doctors and specialists off-site via video conferencing. This can help with both diagnosis and treatment, allowing nurses to better determine whether they can treat students on-site or if a hospital visit is necessary.

Remote monitoring tools could also play a role, especially for children dealing with chronic conditions. Suppose a child has regularly-scheduled doctor visits. With the right tools on hand, these children need not be taken from school to a doctor’s office. The nurse on staff can perform diagnostics using remote tools that upload information for family physicians to view in real-time during a visit via video conference.

Benefits to Schools and Families

There are two major benefits to this system: convenience and affordability. Sending children to the hospital because school nursing staff has neither the expertise nor equipment to properly diagnose ailments is pricy, especially for parents. Plus, calling in parents to pick up sick a sick child is often unnecessary when conditions are properly diagnosed and treated.

School systems that use telemedicine can increase convenience and cut costs all around. In addition, they can provide healthcare for students that may have only limited access. In other words, it’s a great way to put valuable resources where they’ll make a difference.