Transforming In-School Care

For eight years, Sevier County Schools www.sevier.org in partnering with Cherokee Health Systems www.cherokeehealth.com in Tennessee has been using telemedicine to bring high quality healthcare to thousands of students in the largest rural district in Tennessee.

Bringing high quality healthcare to improve student healthcare proved to be challenging. Consistently, there were problems with communicable illnesses spreading across the school and county.

Secondly, there were many problems related to delivering high quality healthcare to all of the 14,000 students across nearly two dozen schools. To make it even more difficult, onsite healthcare personnel was lacking at schools, and lastly, it was a challenge to promote education and awareness among apprehensive parents.

So in the schools in Tennessee, the use of telemedicine was initiated to perform remote patient exams. Utilizing telemedicine enables students to be examined immediately for a number of conditions including potentially contagious diseases. A consulting medical provider from Cherokee Health Systems is now able to give a diagnosis in real-time and is able to coordinate the results of the medical exam with the student and their family.

This is achievable through the use of AMD Global Telemedicine’s www.amdtelemedicine.com specialty medical devices. These include using digital stethoscopes, ENT scopes, and general examination cameras. These devices are used by a school nurse communicating via telemedicine with a remote medical provider at Cherokee so that the provider can give students full work-ups and clinical assessments. The telemedicine encounters address ear infections, strep throat, seasonal flu, various skin conditions, and asthma.

Results achieved through the use of telemedicine in the schools include:

  • Over 11,000 telemedicine encounter visits completed
  • Sevier County has gone five years without a school closure due to seasonal flu
  • Students now receive immediate diagnosis and treatment for ailments and many other communicable illnesses
  • Issues with students such a high blood pressure, diabetes, or nutrition are tracked and monitored
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