A recent article published by EMS World details the use of telemedicine in schools, which has proven in some cases to be helpful in getting quick, preventative care to kids with allergies and asthma to keep them in the classroom and out of the emergency department.
Telemedicine, increasingly used in prisons, nursing homes and remote areas, is becoming more common in schools. According to the American Telemedicine Association, at least 18 states authorize Medicaid reimbursement for telemedicine services provided in schools and 28 states plus Washington DC, require private insurers to cover telemedicine appointments as they would face-to-face doctor visits.
Telemedicine can’t always replace an in-person examination — a doctor often has to touch a patient, for example, to diagnose the cause of abdominal pain — but it does make it less likely that a child will have to miss class for a visit to the doctor’s office.
“The piece for me that is so exciting is how many more kids are able to stay in school,” said Heidi Balter, principal of Ducketts Lane, which was outfitted with telemedicine equipment a year ago.
Lawmakers and educators around the country echo that enthusiasm. “School telehealth will be a game changer in terms of children’s health, keeping them in school and improving educational outcomes,” said Democratic state Rep Kip Kendrick, who helped pass a new Missouri law that allows Medicaid payments for telemedicine in the schools.