School Telehealth Clinic

School Telehealth Clinic
Posted on 08/22/2018
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ALEXANDRIA – Alexandria-Monroe Elementary School nurse Brittney Gideon put the handheld magnifying camera up to the eye of 7-year-old Gabrielle Wise, transmitting an image to another nurse at the Jane Pauley Center.

It happened the second-grader didn’t have a real medical issue. The demonstration was to show visitors how a new school-based telehealth clinic will work in the event of a suspected pink eye problem.

“Instead of the family taking them out of school to the doctor and just hearing, ‘Oh, it’s just allergies,’ we can do that right here,” said Gideon, who sees up to 20 children a day.

The clinic will work similarly to a Skype or Facebook video chat. Elwood Community Schools has operated a similar program for about two years in partnership with Managed Health Services, Indiana Rural Health Association, Aspire Indiana and St. Vincent Mercy Hospital.

The process is similar to commercial telehealth apps like Teledoc, except Gideon first will contact parents for permission. Parents’ insurance will be billed in the same way an in-person doctor’s visit would be billed.

After the examination, parents again are contacted to share the outcome of the visit and any follow-up that may be necessary.

Gideon, officials with Alexandria Community Schools and health care partners, including the Jane Pauley Community Health Center and Managed Health Services, said the telehealth clinic will reduce the time missed in school, get students seen sooner by medical professionals and ensure quicker treatment.

Cuts and abrasions, rashes, pink eye, coughs, colds, strep throat, earaches or flu-like symptoms all can be examined and treated remotely. If necessary, prescriptions can be filled at a local pharmacy for school personnel to pick up.

“Our students are going to get great care, great care quickly and get back in the classroom,” said Alexandria Community Schools Superintendent Melissa Brisco.

Matt Hensley, principal at Alexandria-Monroe Elementary School, stressed the telehealth clinic will be good for his 364 students in grades kindergarten through two who will miss less school and for parents who won’t have to take time off from work to take their youngsters to the doctor.

“The best way for students to learn is to be present, to be here,” he said.

With a typical cold or flu, Hensley said, it can take a day or two for a student to be seen by a doctor, and an additional two or more days out of school for healing time. That can be reduced because the students can be seen right away through the telehealth system.

“If they’re treated on that first day, it can be just one to two days out of school,” he said.

Kevin O’Toole, president and chief executive officer of Managed Health Services, said the telehealth clinic also is an ideal solution for a rural area like Alexandria where transportation to medical services can be a problem for some families.

“It’s an opportunity to leverage scarce resources,” he said. “This kind of partnership allows parents to avoid some of those barriers and improve access to care.”

Marc Hackett, CEO of the Jane Pauley Community Center, said the telehealth clinic is a way to expand the reach of his organization to serve more people.

“It just makes perfect sense for us to participate in this cutting-edge technology,” he said.

State Rep. Melanie Wright, D-Yorktown, a veteran teacher at Daleville Community Schools, agreed.

“We all know the needs of children now are greater than they were 10 years ago,” she said.

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