Students can see a medical provider virtually without leaving school

Engelhard Elementary first to use School-based Telemedicine Program

Thanks to a new collaboration with Norton Healthcare, students at Engelhard Elementary School have access to medical care beyond the school nurse. The School-based Telemedicine Program allows a child to see a Norton Healthcare provider through a secure video visit from the school nurse’s office. Working together, the school nurse and Norton Healthcare provider use the special medical videoconferencing technology to examine a student, look at the child’s skin, listen to the heart and lungs, and look into the nose, throat and ears.

Common conditions that can be treated through a telemedicine visit include cold, fever, rash, earache, pinkeye and sore throat. After the visit, the provider follows up with the parent and sends an after-visit summary home with the child.

“We can evaluate the child while at school and allow them to remain in class if possible,” said Rachel Alexander, APRN, telemedicine program coordinator, Norton Healthcare. “We are able to talk with the parents over the phone about the visit and let them know if there are prescriptions at the pharmacy or home treatments for the illness.”

Health care without leaving home

Norton eCare providers are available 24/7. Video visits are available for children ages 2 and older.

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The school nurse also is able to help perform tests for strep throat and the flu. Another benefit is that parents do not have to leave work or forgo other responsibilities to take a child to the doctor.

“It’s a very easy way for us to know right away what kind of treatment — if any — a student needs,” said Nicole Lasley, LPN, Engelhard Elementary. “We’re also able to work on preventing others from getting ill.”

The program is offered free of charge to students at Engelhard and will expand to Olmsted Academy North and Iroquois High School in the coming weeks. Parents must complete a registration form online to enroll a student in the program.

“We saw this as an opportunity to improve access to health care for children in our community, as well as support busy parents,” said Jennifer Murley, Director of Healthcare Informatics. “The goal of our partnership with JCPS is to keep children healthy, in school and learning.”

Since it began in March, the School-based Telemedicine Program has helped diagnose children with inner ear infections, swimmer’s ear, allergies, allergic pinkeye, eczema, impetigo and upper respiratory infections.

“This is a huge benefit for parents, and we’re thrilled to be the first school in Jefferson County to offer it,” said Ryan McCoy, Ph.D., principal, Engelhard Elementary.