Elwood school district offering telehealth clinic for students

Students can videochat with doctor at school
Posted at 6:01 PM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-06 21:07:00-04

When a child comes to school sick, they're usually sent home right away, but one central Indiana school district is offering sick children something no other Indiana district has tried before: the chance to visit the doctor at school. 

Launched from a partnership between Managed Health Services, Elwood Community School Corporation, Indiana Rural Health Association, Aspire Indiana and St. Vincent Mercy, the telehealth clinic will allow students to be seen by a licensed healthcare provider over video chat without having to leave school. 

Dozens of kids stop by school nurse Heather Gordon's office every day, and in many cases she's able to help them feel better. "We can give basic over the counter medications, itch cream, I can look in their ears, things like that."

But when a student has a high temperature or their eye is a little too pink, they need to see an actual doctor.

Elwood Community School Corporation Superintendent Chris Daughtry says he knows first hand how much of  hassle healthcare can be, "I have four kids. For me to get a doctors appointment, miss work and then actually get medicine for the child, you may be talking about an additional 24 hours."

But Daughtry says their hope is that the new program will help relieve some of that stress from parents, as well as increase the attendance at school and improve student health. 

Gordon says the new program allows her to turn on a computer and link up with a pediatrician through St. Vincent Medical Group so she can show them a close-up of whatever is bothering the child. "I'll be able to do some of the lab testing they would do at the clinic: strep test, urine dips that he can order."

All that while the child is still at school. And a doctor can even prescribe antibiotics so that they can address the student's health immediately.