As discussed in the previous blog post, School-Based Health Center
Research across the field has shown that telehealth is an effective modality to expand access to health services. According to a 2019 study by Pradhan, et. al, implementation of a school-based telehealth model for integrating mental health services requires significant collaboration for effective integration, and the steps necessary to ensure success include identifying sites, assessing clinical and technical needs, identifying funding opportunities, and being aware of state- and payer dependent telemedicine regulations. When done effectively, there is evidence of positive impact by these models. Link: National School-Based Health Care Census.
Spotlight in Innovations: Genesee Valley School District (GVCSD), with Anne Campbell, Wellness Director: Genesee Valley Central School (GVCS)
In the case of Genesee Valley School District, leftover money from a grant which was mainly used for offering dental care was used to purchase telemedical supplies. Starting in 2018, GVSD formed a partnership with Mobile Primary Care, based out of Buffalo. Through this partnership, GVCSD has been able to develop both a telemedical and telepsychiatry program. In conversation with RSA, Campbell noted that the tele-medicine unit, staffed with a trained school nurse, incorporates Bluetooth technology and medical instruments to transmit student vital statistics and symptoms to a remote-based doctor. As pictured here, personnel connect to Bluetooth technology in order to connect with physicians and nurses based back in Buffalo – who are able to provide medical treatment to students remotely.
While the program is still new, Campbell has seen anecdotal impacts in terms of students’ attendance as well as teachers’ reflections on the impact of these telehealth supports. She noted:
Reflecting on the program, Campbell notes tips for success:
GVSD Telemedicine and COVID-19
Presently, GVSD can now offer in-home telemedical services for GVCS students, faculty and staff. Mobile Primary Care created a secure network that allows them to connect with families and students in their homes by a link that is sent to their email of cellphone. What can be diagnosed is limited, but it’s a continuation of medical services during this crisis. GVSD has also continued Telepsychiatry services as well and there has not been a gap since COVID-19 began.
For more about GVSD’s work, check out: Genesee Valley Central School launches School-Based Telemedicine and Telepsychiatry Program and Genesee Valley takes proactive approach to become Full-Service Community School.
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, telemedicine is an option that has been exceedingly explored through SBHCs, and will be discussed in the final blog of this series: Blog Post 6: Timely Relevance and COVID-19.