Telehealth brings instant medical care to some Horry County schools

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LORIS, SC (WBTW) – Students can now receive instant care when they get sick at school without physically going to a doctor’s office. New Telehealth services are being rolled out to some Horry County schools, linking a physician directly to the nurse’s office through video conferencing.

Your child gets sick at school and you get the call to pick them up. It’s time to head to the doctor. Except times are changing.

“If a student walks into the nurse’s office with a sickness that the nurse needs a doctor’s appointment we can go ahead and see the student in the back of the nurse’s office,” Lauren Cox, a presenter for Little River Medical Center Telehealth Services said.

Medical technology new to Horry County schools called Telehealth allows physicians to treat sick students when conditions require care beyond what nurses can provide. The health and safety coordinator for the HCSD says the technology launch helps children in areas of the district where there are limited providers.

There are also more benefits.

“It helps those kids who have chronic illnesses who have to see physicians a lot of times for their treatment of asthma or diabetes. These doctors can actually get on there and give treatment right then and there,” Tammy Allsbrook, coordinator of health and safety services for HCSD said.

Special equipment connected to this machine allows doctors to virtually see a student’s heart and lungs and provide treatment for headaches, cold or flu symptoms, asthma, or diabetes.

“We use the different equipment that’s inside of the Telehealth machine. We have a general scope that lets us look in the mouth, eyes, skin using the derma-scope,” Cox said.

A release form signed by the parent allows school nurses and doctors to work hand in hand, screen to screen, to come up with diagnosis and treatment plans for their child, saving time and travel.

“A lot of parents aren’t able to take their kids to the doctor so they don’t end up doing it. Since we are there, conveniently, they can go ahead and have that appointment where these diseases and illnesses are getting treated immediately,” Cox said.

There are benefits for the child and parent as students are likely to spend less time outside the classroom. Telehealth eliminates the step for parents to take off work to schedule a doctor’s appointment. The convenience allows doctors to prescribe medication with parent permission from remote locations.

LRMC says they will accept Medicaid and private insurances. Doctors rolling out the service say no student will be turned away based on insurance status or ability to pay. A sliding fee may help accommodate to make services affordable for every student.

Daisy Elementary and Loris Elementary are the first schools rolling out Telehealth services. Little River Medical Center says it hopes to roll out more in the school district soon.

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