OU Health partners with Oklahoma City Public Schools on school-based telehealth program

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OU Health partners with Oklahoma City Public Schools on school-based telehealth program

In order to improve healthcare access to Oklahoma City children, OU Health is partnering with Oklahoma City Public Schools to provide district wide school-based telehealth and integrated health education programs. The program is receiving support from the Hearst Foundations, philanthropic entities which are independent of the Hearst Corporation.

In preparation for the district-wide initiative, OU Health has launched a pilot program connecting students in six Oklahoma City Public Schools directly to healthcare professionals to assist with a range of childhood health conditions. This service is helping provide routine healthcare to kids including sick visits, behavioral care and chronic disease management, as well as providing health education.

Improving Healthcare Access to OKC Youth

“As the state’s academic healthcare system, we believe it is our mission to provide healthcare that is accessible, timely, high-quality and affordable,” said Richard Lofgren, M.D., OU Health president and CEO. “Our telehealth partnership with Oklahoma City Public Schools achieves that mission in many different ways. Ultimately, we want to play a role in providing children and families with the care they need and improving their health and well-being.”

The schools supported in this pilot program include:

· Douglass High School

· F.D. Moon Middle School

· Eugene Field Elementary School

· Thelma Parks Elementary School

· Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School

· Wilson Elementary School

Telehealth Program A Game Changer

Each school will be equipped with telehealth software and associated diagnostic devices that are necessary to perform comprehensive virtual health examinations in school. OU Health pediatricians will connect to the telehealth system and can perform virtual examinations of the heart, lungs, abdomen, ear, mouth, throat and skin and can get accurate temperatures.

“In some cases, our school nurses are the only health care provider our students see regularly. The relationships they build with students and their families play a vital role in maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment for our students,” said OKCPS Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel. “To add the component of telehealth from our partners at OU Health is a game changer. It will allow our families to receive enhanced health services without having to take time off work to go to an outside clinic. We are thankful to OU Health for this critical partnership.”

The program aims to increase access to primary care and disease management, to improve health outcomes and literacy, and to decrease student absenteeism and trips to the emergency department. Parents will benefit by having reduced healthcare costs and having lower incidences of lost time from work and the associated loss of pay. Telehealth visits are provided regardless of insurance status.

“When students have untreated health issues it can lead to them missing school and experiencing academic struggles,” said Kathleen Combs, M.D., OU Health pediatrician and medical director of OU Health’s School-Based Telehealth program. “Additionally, many parents in under-resourced areas are not easily able to leave work to take their child to the doctor during the day. The opportunity to ensure these young patients are able to receive healthcare services in a timely manner is really exciting to us.”