Virtual Healthcare in Schools

Avera Health, JDRF,  and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust  have announced the creation of the eCare School Health T1D Demonstration Project, to address disparities related to school healthcare.

The project will start with students living with diabetes plus the effectiveness of the program will be evaluated. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) recommends students have daily access to a full time RN, but only 39% of schools in the U.S employ a full time school nurse, and just 35% employ a part time nurse. In some rural areas the coverage rate is even lower.

Registered nurses assist the school staff in caring for students who have chronic health needs. Due to the lack or nursing care available in many schools without telehealth, parents are left to give directions to school staff without medical training in order to help students with chronic conditions, such as diabetes.

Avera Health is partnering with telehealth provider Avel eCare to study the impact of delivering virtual school nursing services in medically underserved communities. The eCare School Health Demonstration will provide access to experienced school nurses via live audio-visual technology.

When there is a medical issue, within minutes an Avel eCare nurse is available via video to access the situation and provide stable and continuous support to the school staff member. During the 2020-2021 school year, over 6,300 video visits were conducted to service 50 schools in North and South Dakota, and Iowa.

The Demonstration Project will enroll about 100 schools and invite families of students aged 3-17 with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes to enroll in the study. Avera is currently recruiting schools and students for the research project.

Contact Sheila Fried at for more information on the eCare School Health T1D Demonstration Project 

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