McLeod Health brings students, providers, and parents together through school-based telehealth powered by Pexip
About McLeod Health
Founded over a century ago, McLeod Health is a healthcare system with approximately 750 physicians on its medical staff, 2,700 registered nurses, and more than 8,500 employees in total. McLeod Health has seven hospitals and includes 931 acute licensed beds across Northeastern South Carolina.
- Needed a way for school nurses to diagnose illness and prevent missed school and spread of sickness in school
- Needed a simple way to connect parents/guardians and specialists with students and providers
- Needed a solution for streamlining manual and paper processes related to telehealth
- Adoption of a new telehealth solution from Iron Bow Technologies, using Pexip's self-hosted Infinity video solution
- Decrease in missed instruction time for students
- Better access to healthcare for students
- Better ability to diagnose and treat student illness
- More efficient process for school nurses, providers, and parents
- Better information sharing, which streamlined formerly manual processes
Many McLeod Health patients live in rural areas of South Carolina, with limited access to health care services. Because of this, telehealth has been growing in popularity — especially in schools, where students can connect virtually with providers during school hours to quickly get the care they need.
However, many of the processes associated with school telehealth were still manual, such as faxing paperwork back and forth between the school and the provider’s office. In addition, video calls were limited to two participants (the student and the provider), leaving parents and guardians out of the loop.
Working with Pexip and Iron Bow Technologies, McLeod Health has pioneered a more modern school-based telehealth program using state-of-the-art technologies, which allows them to deliver virtual care quickly, giving back time to students and their families.
McLeod Health rolled out its new program to several Florence One Schools, providing them with equipment including computers, monitors, cameras, and even a remote stethoscope.
Pexip’s video engine powers the solution, enabling secure, reliable video visits from any device and location. With Pexip’s customization options, McLeod was able to develop a unique web interface that extended its branding, colors, and overall look-and-feel to the application. Robust integrations also enabled McLeod to tie the Pexip engine to its existing workflows, such as its electronic medical records and scheduling processes, so it would be easy to use on a day-to-day basis.
Iron Bow provided their Clinical Care Device (CLINiC™) which enables the remote consultations between patients and providers. The CLINiC uses an intuitive icon-driven user interface that makes starting and joining calls easy for providers. The solution can easily connect with scopes and peripherals for more effective consultations. The CLINiC has many variations depending on space and use case requirements; the model that McLeod chose was a cart-based model, allowing for flexible movement and transfer between different areas as needed.
Now, when a student visits the school nurse, the nurse can evaluate his or her symptoms and determine whether that student needs to speak with a provider. The nurse then logs in to a secure, customized web interface to request a virtual visit, which triggers a notification to local McLeod providers. The provider accepts and the visit is added to the provider’s schedule. Most visits take place within the hour.
When it’s time for the appointment, the school nurse and student can easily and securely meet with a provider and parent/guardian can securely. Participants can join using any device, including telehealth carts, tablets, smart phones, or web browsers. Since the schools have access to otoscopes and stethoscopes, they can share visual information with the provider to remotely diagnose illnesses and prescribe medications that can be picked up after school. Telehealth has proven especially useful for ear-, throat-, and skin-related concerns.
“The telehealth program has been a great asset not only to our students and their parents/guardians but also to our entire school body.”Brittany W. Waller, RN, BSN, school nurse at South Florence High School
The McLeod School-Based Telehealth Program has had a tremendous impact on participants and on the community. Since students can be treated quickly, they don’t risk infecting others by going back into the classroom while they wait for an appointment. They can quickly see a provider, get a diagnosis, and even receive an e-prescription — all without having to wait until after school. It also helps keep students out of the emergency departments, saving money for families and reducing the strain on hospitals.
"It's extremely convenient treating the child in a familiar environment without having them leave school," nurse practitioner Lisa Wallace of McLeod Health explained. "Our goal is to reduce absenteeism and risk of infection as well as decrease the use of the ER for visits that aren't necessarily emergent."
Since virtual visits are not limited to two-way communication, families can also participate in the calls without having to leave home or the office, which provides peace of mind and saves time. And because all communications are now electronic, information is more readily accessible and can be securely shared between involved parties. The care team can easily access medical histories and records without having to shuffle papers around.
“Having the McLeod School-Based Telehealth Program at our school has been a great asset not only to our students and their parents/guardians but also to our entire school body", said Brittany W. Waller, RN, BSN, school nurse at South Florence High School. "The school-based telehealth program gives us additional tools that provide increased access to healthcare for students and the ability to better discern who truly needs to be excluded from school due to illness. This, in turn, further increases the educational opportunity for our students and promotes the health and wellness of our entire school body.”
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