Telehealth expansions, new offerings help connect instant healthcare to Indiana schools

Telehealth offers instant healthcare to Indiana schools

SALEM, Ind. (WAVE) - Kids are heading back to school and new technology is finding a way to keep them in the classroom. That technology is also now making its way into the nurse’s office as Telehealth in Indiana expands.

With class back in session for many school districts around southern Indiana, it won’t be long before colds and illnesses start spreading through classrooms.

“Strep throat usually kicks in one to two weeks after school starts; we start seeing a lot of that,” Lindsey Brough, a family nurse practitioner at St. Vincent Salem, said.

Brough can connect to the schools, from St. Vincent Salem, by using camera systems set up right inside the school nurse’s office. It can be used for everything from a skin rash to strep throat, making sure some students don’t have to miss out on class if they’re sick.

“We had probably the most appointments from our most rural school, being West Washington," Brough said. “And I would say, 90 percent of those we got to send back, to send back to class, didn’t have to send home, parents didn’t have to leave work.”

Telehealth launched in schools around Washington County last winter, paid for through grant funding.
Telehealth launched in schools around Washington County last winter, paid for through grant funding. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“Our nurse then gets all that information back and now can call the parent and say your child has this and the nurse has called in a prescription,” Brent Minton, Bradie Shrum Elementary School Principal, said.

Telehealth launched in schools around Washington County last winter. The technology was paid for through grant funding.

The high-tech option brings instant health care to Indiana schools in rural areas - and it’s expanding.

Over the summer, schools in Batesville and Milan in Ripley County added Telehealth to their schools to better treat students when a doctor’s office isn’t nearby. This school year, Brough said they’ll even be able to check for strep throat and the flu right from the school.

This new technology benefits the students, but often their parents, too.

“It’s cutting down on absences for the students, but also for the parents with their jobs," Minton said. “We’ve had times in the past where the parents said, ‘I can’t leave my job, I just don’t have the time.'"

With the Telehealth program now established in the school, Minton said he’s hopeful more parents will utilize it this school year, so they can give kids the best possible care while they’re at school.

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