McLeod Health, Florence 1 Schools partner to create telehealth program
Four schools to take part in initial year of new and innovative program.
McLeod Health and Florence 1 Schools have created a partnership to offer a School-Based Telehealth Program at four schools beginning in September. The participating schools include North Vista Elementary, Wallace Gregg Elementary, Williams Middle, and South Florence High.
The program offers a new option for non-emergency medical care at these schools through McLeod TeleHealth visits with Nurse Practitioner Lisa Wallace. McLeod has provided each of the four schools with telehealth equipment, including a computer, monitor, camera and other devices such as a remote stethoscope and otoscope.
Dr. Richard O’Malley, Superintendent of Florence 1 Schools, said that the district is proud to offer an innovative partnership like the School-Based Telehealth Program (SBTP) for its students.
“The telehealth program provides a lot of benefits for our students and their parents,” O’Malley said. “During a visit, they are able to remotely connect to quality healthcare with a local provider using state-of-the-art equipment so we are saving them a lot of precious time. Parents don’t have to take off of work, students see a healthcare provider and they don’t miss a lot of important classroom instruction. That is a win-win for us and them.”
O’Malley explained that school nurses will continue to play a key role in their schools. “Our students know the nurses at their schools and they already take excellent care of their students,” O’Malley said. “Having them partnered with McLeod providers through SBTP just adds another layer to the services we can offer our students within their school.”
Beth Holzbach, the lead nurse for Florence 1 Schools, sees the program as a valuable asset.
“Our policy for school exclusion due to contagious illnesses will remain in effect,” she said, “but in many instances, the student may be able to remain at school after receiving a diagnosis and a plan for care from the McLeod TeleHealth provider. As school nurses, we want sick children to get well and be able to return to school quickly. We also want the students who can stay at school to remain at school and not miss valuable learning time in the classroom.”
Holzbach said the School-Based Telehealth Program is truly a community effort, extending a sincere thank you to Bret Greer with Toledo Carolina for generously donating scales to the participating schools.
“The School-Based Telehealth Program offers many benefits for our children and community,” said Wallace. “In addition to providing a rapid diagnosis and treatment, our goal is to also increase access to better health care for every student. This will reduce absenteeism, risk of infection, and the use of the Emergency Department for non-emergent medical situations. However, this service is not designed to replace a student’s primary health care that is provided by their pediatrician or family physician.”
O’Malley said the intent is to eventually expand the program to include all FSD1 schools.
How the School-Based Telehealth Program Works:
• When the school nurse believes a student should have a telehealth visit, she will send Wallace information on the student’s condition and their age, weight and vitals.
• A McLeod TeleHealth appointment will be scheduled and the parent will receive an email link to connect to the visit.
• Wallace will talk with the student about how they are feeling and get input from the parent on the child’s medical history.
• The school nurse will then facilitate the exam using the peripheral aids so that Wallace can listen to the heart and lungs, check the ears, nose and throat, evaluate a rash or ask the nurse to swab for flu.
• Before the visit ends, Wallace will ask the parent if they have any questions or concerns and if a prescription is necessary she will send it to the family’s regular pharmacy.