Blanca Arevalo, administrative assistant at John Haley Elementary and mother to three children, is always pressed for time. Whether she’s running day-to-day operations at work or making a quick trip to the grocery store to grab dinner, she relies on convenience.
That’s why she was ecstatic to hear about Telehealth, a medical technology service that allows students experiencing common illnesses to be seen at school by a doctor or nurse practitioner via video chat. Thanks to a partnership with Children’s Health of Dallas, Telehealth takes away the hassle of scheduling doctors’ appointments, sitting in waiting rooms and getting billed large co-pays.
Here’s how it works: A student experiencing common symptoms such as a fever, sore throat, ear infection or chills visits the school nurse. The school nurse takes the student’s vitals and then calls Telehealth. Within an hour, the student, his/her parent and the school nurse are consulting with a doctor or nurse through video. The visit entails almost everything an in-person appointment would – listening to the student’s breathing with the stethoscope, examining the student’s ears, eyes and throat through an otoscope, diagnosing and prescribing medicine, as well as having the school nurse administer flu and strep tests.
Although the experience might seem a bit uncomfortable for children more familiar with in-person doctor visits, Blanca has had a different experience. “My daughter likes the visit because it’s engaging. She can see the inside of her ear because it’s displayed in front of her on the screen,” Blanca says. “It’s different from being in the pediatrician’s office. She can see everything the doctor sees. It makes her feel more comfortable.”
Karyn Beauchamp, director of clinic and health and services for Irving ISD, is extremely proud of the partnership. “Irving ISD wanted to provide a health service that kept our students at school, provided the best medical care possible and made the experience more convenient for our parents. Telehealth was the solution!”
Telehealth is currently in 11 Irving ISD campuses, including two new sites, and is open to all students, even if they do not attend a school that offers the service. Here are the current Telehealth sites:
- Brown Elementary
- Britain Elementary
- Gilbert Elementary
- John Haley Elementary
- Johnston Elementary
- Keyes Elementary
- Lively Elementary
- Schulze Elementary
- Stipes Elementary
- Bowie Middle- New Site!
- de Zavala Middle- New Site!
The cost of Telehealth varies. Children with Medicaid are completely covered, children with no insurance pay less than $50 and children with insurance are billed through their insurance provider.
For families interested in enrolling in Telehealth, visit Children’s Hospital of Dallas.