School-Based Telemedicine Center

Ducketts Lane Elementary School http://dles.hcpss.org is the sixth telemedicine center sponsored by Maryland’s Howard County Health Department in partnership with the Howard County Public School System to open in the county.

Children who are ill with eye, ear, nose, and throat complaints along with skin, lung, and headache issues can be seen during the school day in six health rooms located in elementary schools.

Their health issues can be assessed by their own healthcare provider if they are part of the community telemedicine network or assessed by a pediatrician from the Howard County General hospital Pediatric Emergency Room will do the assessment.

The school nurse uses a special hand-held camera with attachments capable of transmitting images of the child’s eyes, ears, throat, and exposed skin and also able to transmit lung sounds to the medical provider via secure web-based transmissions.

Another camera enables the provider to see and talk with the child and school nurse. Throat cultures for strep throat can be done on-site and if a prescription is required, it will be sent electronically to the pharmacy.

Parents are always contacted before the telemedicine visit to confirm that the parent wishes the child to be seen. Parents are invited to participate in the visit either by phone or by coming to the health suite itself. If the provider is from the hospital, parents can view the visit on their smart phone or computer.

If the child’s own medical provider sees the child via telemedicine, the provider will bill just like it was an office visit. At this time, the hospital is not billing for telemedicine visits, but if they do decide to bill in the future, the charge will not be at the emergency room rate.

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