Benefits of School-Based Telemedicine
- Expand capacity to meet children’s health care needs
- Increase access to acute care
- Scale school nurses’ and reduce travel time
- Keep children in school and parents at work
- Early detection and treatment for behavioral health issues
- Provide access to mental health and specialty services
Children’s Primary Care Needs
Typically found in communities that face economic and healthcare burdens, School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) exist to meet the health care needs of children and parents, as well as community members. The synergy of telemedicine and SBHCs enables primary care medicine to reach into schools for assessment, diagnosis and e-prescribing, reducing the need for parents to usher their children from school to the doctor’s office.
Scaling School Nurses
School nursing is vital in improving the health of children, especially in rural communities where the school nurse may be ‘the’ healthcare provider for children that do not have a medical home. Demand for school nurses is growing but when the volume of students is low, it may not be practical to have on-site school health services. School nurses have additional challenges when they serve multiple schools over great distances.
Telemedicine enables a school nurse to reside at one location and provide medical coverage to many.
Behavioral Health & Specialty Services
Mental health issues often surface during children’s adolescent years, but schools face resource and economic barriers in providing mental and behavioral health services to school-aged children.
Telemedicine establishes a link between the school, community health partners and behavioral health specialists to more readily serve children in need of care. The use of telemedicine allows for early detection and treatment, ultimately improving the perception of a school as a safe place to receive mental health services.