Traditionally, when a student presents with wheezing in the chest, suggesting an asthma attack, the school nurse must call an ambulance to transport the child to the emergency room. Now, with school telemedicine and the parent’s permission, a school nurse can initiate a video call with an emergency room pediatrician; with the aid of a digital stethoscope, the doctor can listen to the student’s lungs remotely, diagnose the ailment, and provide a treatment plan for the nurse to follow. Within minutes, the student returns to class.
Without telemedicine, students who show signs of an emergency have to miss the rest of his or her classes, and the parents miss the remaining workday to travel to the emergency room. In some cases, such as the asthma scenario outlined above, the treatment is simple, readily available, and effective; this type of situation is a prefect fit for school telemedicine. The technology is also helpful in distinguishing between harmless allergies and highly contagious pinkeye, managing chronic conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and monitoring students’ mental health and oral health.
Telemedicine, which is already being utilized in prisons, nursing homes, and rural areas, is becoming a common tool in schools. It allows students to receive immediate medical care without missing class, rather than requiring students and parents to lose a few hours or school or work. It’s exciting news, especially for students whose health issues could be interfering with academic achievement.
The setup in the school nurse’s office is simple: a computer, webcam, microphone, digital stethoscope, digital otoscope, and a telemedicine software package such as swyMed. SwyMed offers a flexible platform that can interact with nearly any telemedicine hardware or software that the physician’s office might have, and it can hold a strong connection even in low bandwidth situations. This allows the nurse and doctor to focus on the most important thing: the child’s health.
To learn more about telemedicine in schools, click here.
To request a demo of swyMed, contact us here.