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Telehealth Services for Primary Care and Urgent Care to Support Rural Schools and Students

HumanInsight Telehealth Services for Primary Care and Urgent Care to Support Rural Schools and Students

Telemed J E Health. 2022 Nov 17. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0364. Online ahead of print.


Background: School-based health services, particularly those available to underserved and rural communities, remain in high demand. Advancements in telehealth services present clinical resources otherwise typically unavailable to students from rural communities. Methods: Data were collected during 4 semesters on all students receiving primary care or urgent care health services from 8 school-based telehealth programs delivering care to 40 schools across the United States. Results: Across the 4 semesters, 2,769 students received primary care telehealth and 2,238 students received urgent care telehealth. The primary care telehealth services were delivered by a primary care provider with a registered nurse also involved in half of the encounters. In contrast, the urgent care telehealth services were delivered almost exclusively by a registered nurse. Primary care telehealth delivered a variety of services including medication management, counseling, and sports physicals in addition to assessments and evaluations. Urgent care telehealth primarily involved an assessment. Both services returned most students to the classroom without the need for further follow-up, thus reducing or eliminating the need for seeking health care outside of the school setting. Notably, 67.7% of students seeking primary care telehealth services did not have a primary care provider outside of the school, clearly demonstrating the importance of these school-based services in increasing access to basic health care services for these students in rural and underserved communities. Conclusions: Telehealth provides a reliable solution and immediate access to care for students in need of health care, which, in turn, presents advantages to educators and parents.

PMID:36394496 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2022.0364

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