Telehealth program brings virtual doctor's visits to Lower Richland schools
(WIS) - As a parent, getting a call from school that your child is sick can be difficult.
Trying to leave work while worrying about your child's health is never easy, but now, a program called Telehealth is aimed at keeping your child in school longer while you're at work.
Telehealth is designed to be like a regular doctor's visit except instead of physically going to a doctor's office, it'll be through a video chat in the school nurse's office.
The beauty of this program is that it eliminates having parents taking off work to pick up kids, students missing class, as well as the hassle of finding a same-day doctor's appointment.
The video camera on the Telehealth equipment virtually calls a nurse practitioner from Palmetto Health. From there, the nurse practitioner will walk the school nurse through what pictures need to be seen using the telehealth equipment.
Using the telehealth equipment, the nurse practitioner can see rashes, inside the child's ear, and vitals immediately and up close from a distance. The nurse practitioner can also prescribe medicine and it will be automatically sent to the pharmacy of the parent's choice.
Once the visit is finished, a summary will be provided to the parent as well as a primary physician. Telehealth isn't meant to replace a pediatrician or primary care physician, it's just an added resource for the Lower Richland community.
"Our goal with Telehealth is to provide overall healthcare services to our students, as well as to reduce absenteeism, and to keep students in the seats, to keep parents on their jobs and employed, and to reduce that barrier of access to care," Christanny Bryant with Palmetto Health said.
Depending on the traffic coming in and out of the school nurse office, it's typically a 30 to 45 minute visit, which is still a lot quicker than going to a normal doctor.
Kwan Scott, a parent of a Telehealth student said "This is so awesome because you have to think people don't have cars and you know it's hard trying to get from Gadsden to Columbia to see a doctor or possibly go to urgent care or something, so it's very convenient. I've been telling people all about it."
Telehealth is offered at four elementary schools and one middle school in Lower Richland.
The program is offered at Hopkins Elementary, Webber Elementary, Gadsden Elementary, Horrell Hill Elementary and Southeast Middle School.
There is an enrollment form that parents must fill out in the beginning of the school year to have their child partake in the program.
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