In the spring of 2019, Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics started the process of implementing telemedicine in the Belmond-Klemme Elementary School. Throughout the summer hospital staff worked to tweak the system, and on August 29th, had their first telemedicine session with a Belmond-Klemme student.
During a telemedicine visit, a patient is able to be seen by a provider via video software. The visit takes place in a private office and is coordinated by an onsite certified medical assistant. Through the telemedicine visit, the provider is able to see and hear all of the things that they would normally check during a clinic visit. This may include listening to the patient's lung and heart sounds, as well as checking their ears or throat. Additionally, certain tests, like strep and influenza, are able to be run onsite, saving a visit to the clinic. If the patient needs medicine or antibiotics, those prescriptions are sent to a pharmacy at the conclusion of the visits. Currently the telemedicine program is available at Jacobsen Elementary for those staff and students who become sick during the school day.
“We believe this project will be highly utilized as it continues to grow,” shared Kim Wilson, Belmond Clinic Leader. “We’ve already had great success with the students who have used the telemedicine system. One parent shared how easy it was to make the payment over the phone and have their child seen by a doctor. Plus neither the parent nor the child had to leave work or the school. It’s truly a win for everyone involved.”
Offering telemedicine visits in schools provides many benefits for students, parents, and staff. Most importantly, access to care can help ensure that students and staff miss minimal time within their classrooms. In many cases, students are able to remain in school after being evaluated. This reduces the amount of time away from school, keeping students on track with their education.
Additionally, telemedicine within the schools is a plus for parents. Telemedicine helps reduce the time away from work by eliminating leaving work, driving to the school to pick up their child, and then taking a child to the doctor.
Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics’ goal for the telemedicine program is to eventually expand to other school systems and perhaps area businesses.