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Telehealth ‘eMD Anywhere’ service available in all Johnson County schools

Rural medicine 12-24-2016By: Rebecca Herman
Freelance Writer

In rural communities getting an appointment with a doctor for a sick child can be a daunting task, especially if it is last minute. Add to that the limited number of pediatricians in Johnson County, the time needed to take a child to the doctor, and the necessity of missing a day’s work and you are presented with a huge problem to deal with. A new health program in the Johnson County school system can be the answer.
“eMD Anywhere” utilizes computer technology to provide kid friendly, school-based medical clinics where students can be seen by a licensed Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) by simply logging onto a computer. The services that can be provided with Telemedicine are well visits, chronic disease management, screening tools, nutrition, sports physicals, medication management, allergy testing, and sick care. Each clinic has a CLEA certified lab, so school nurses are able to test for strep, flu, and test urine; three principals have also been trained in the schools that do not have a full-time nurse.
Wendy Henley, RN nursing supervisor for Johnson County Schools, says, “The convenience for our students and staff getting in to see a provider quickly, on site, without having to leave school has made a big difference for our school system.”
So how does this program work? When a child is ill, he or she can go see the nurse, who will assess the student and determine whether the student needs to be seen by the FNP, or a parent or guardian can call the school nurse to schedule an appointment for a child. In either case, the nurse tries to schedule the visit during a non-academic class, so no class time will be missed. Each visit takes 15 to 20 minutes, and there is no wait time. Parents are also able to teleconference into the visit from their smartphones or computers, so they can discuss the child’s symptoms or ask additional questions.
When the student comes into the clinic, the nurse will use tools such as a stethoscope, dental scope, and otoscope which are connected to the computer and are also Bluetooth enabled. The FNP can see everything that the nurse can see through the computer. This technology enables the FNP to see patients anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection. The FNP will diagnose the patient and can even call in a prescription; this process can make life much easier for parents and students alike.
Students aren’t the only people able to make use of this Telemedicine.
“Anyone in the student’s immediate family are able to see the FNP. In many cases more than one person is sick, so if we can treat each family member, then the illness or problem can be treated quickly,” said Deena Rohloff, manager of business development for eMD.

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