Today there is a rising number of children in the US affected by asthma and diabetes. School nurses are treating a wider range of issues than ever before. Even though this increase is known, only 40% of elementary schools in the US have a full time nurse on staff. The use of telemedicine can expand the reach of school nurses and their ability to care for a wider range of illnesses.
Having telemedicine access in schools could change the way chronically ill children are educated. The ability to monitor these children from school would allow them to go back to their classroom and continue a normal educational path along with their peers. Being back in the classroom will improve the quality of life for the child as they are able to get into a consistent routine and continue their social interactions.
Many schools in Texas have implemented telemedicine into their school system, and since 2013 4,000 virtual visits have been conducted from these schools. The school nurse has a cart with a high definition screen and digitally connected scopes which allow doctors to evaluate these children from a far. It is important to note that telemedicine in no way replaces the need for a school nurse but rather improves their ability to provide quality care.
Convenient access to care is becoming increasingly important and is a main reason many people are moving toward virtual care options. The school systems throughout the US are likely to start implementing telemedicine into their system, due to the success many schools have had already. Keep an eye out in your area to see if your school system is next!