A Successful School Telehealth Program in Rural Health. Thought I would share it on Today in Health IT.
Rose Ghattas, RN, virtual health coordinator for Blessing Health System, spoke about her efforts to do that during the 2021 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition session "Piloting a School Telehealth Program in a Rural Community." The session was co-presented by Joseph DeVivo, president, hospital and health systems at Teladoc Health, which partnered with Blessing on the initiative.
When Blessing first implemented the telehealth program, the school district it served had about 11,000 students. The telehealth program was attractive because local healthcare providers were just a few miles away from the district's schools. So, if it was determined that a student's virtual visit alone couldn't address their issue, they could get higher-acuity visits by going to the hospital in person.
This made the telehealth program a hybrid model, in which school nurses connected students with health complaints to local providers via telehealth, where a determination could be made as to the best treatment path.
The successes of the program, however, speak for themselves.
"Eighty percent of students opted in in the first year," Ghattas said. "We thought that was pretty good, for a community that didn't really know what telehealth is. We prevented one to two absences per week. And the time they went to a school nurse to the time they saw a provider was less than 30 minutes, often around 15 minutes."
The next steps for the program are to expand more into behavioral health, expand to more schools and establish a more comprehensive budgeting framework.
Worth looking at being a fast follower if you aren't already doing this.
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