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School nurse examining student

The School-Based Telehealth program brings advanced health care to children in the school setting.

Long travel distances, missed school days, and missed work days for parents are barriers to accessing health care for many rural or medically underserved children. The School-Based Telehealth Program seeks to improve the availability of health care to underserved children across SC. The program improves access to acute sick care, chronic disease management, and mental health services by bringing the care to the children.

How Does it Work?

Care is delivered in the school setting through a telehealth connection between the health care provider and the school nurse or telepresenter. Telehealth equipment includes a full exam camera, telemedicine-enabled stethoscopes and otoscopes, and video conference.

School-based telehealth services include urgent and acute care, specialized mental health care, and chronic disease co-management for conditions such as asthma.

The provider examines the patient through high definition visual and audio equipment with the assistance of the school nurse or telepresenter, and is able to choose a treatment plan and prescribe medication. Parental consent is given beforehand, and parents/guardians are always invited to participate in the appointment by phone. Follow up notes are sent to the child’s primary care provider for their records and further coordination of care.

What are the Benefits of This Program?

  • Fewer missed school days for students and missed work days for parents
  • Faster access to an appointment and care
  • School-based health centers have been shown to increase healthcare access to rural children, decrease emergency room visits, decrease absenteeism, improve chronic disease management, and improve academic performance.*

*School-based health centers and pediatric practice. Pediatrics, 2012. 129(2): p. 387-93