As children head back to class, school systems in Virginia are gearing up to make sure pupils get the healthcare they need by setting up telehealth centers.
The centers, which will be located in elementary and high schools in Bland County and Martinsville and developed with help from the Karen S. Rheuban Center for Telehealth at University of Virginia, will especially be helpful for children with special care needs. That can include students with autism, asthma, diabetes and behavioral health conditions.
The program is funded by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the centers will open in January.
Through the centers, parents and school personnel will be able to connect with the Bland County Medical Clinic and the Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness. There also will be specialty care provided by UVA and the Virginia Institute of Autism. Connections to those facilities will be available through videoconferencing, text messaging and devices that can share health data.
“We want to facilitate communication between parents, primary care providers, classroom teachers and specialty care providers,” Kathy Wibberly, director of the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center, which is based at UVA’s telehealth center, said in the announcement.
Telehealth capabilities in schools is growing. Last year, health IT leaders at Dallas Children's Medical Center, San Juan Health Partners and the Medical University of South Carolina spoke with FierceHealthIT about their partnerships with schools in this area.