OU Health Telehealth School Program Launches Districtwide Across all Oklahoma City Public Schools

OU Health Telehealth School Program Launches Districtwide Across all Oklahoma City Public Schools

Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) have partnered with Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health pediatricians to provide expert medical care to students through a telehealth program.

The OU Health Telehealth School Program officially went live throughout the OKCPS district on Tuesday, October 3, 2023. The program is now offered to 35,000 students from the 58 schools in the OKCPS system, for sick visits, chronic disease management, and some mental health conditions. Each school is equipped with telehealth software and associated diagnostic devices that will allow them to perform comprehensive virtual health examinations in school. OU Health pediatricians work with school nurses via the telehealth system and can perform virtual examinations of the heart, lungs, abdomen, ear, mouth, throat and skin and can get accurate temperatures. Through the technology, students can be examined, diagnosed and treated. If the child needs a prescription, the clinician will send in the request to the family's preferred pharmacy.

The pilot program was initiated in 2022 across six schools after receiving grant funds from The Hearst Foundation, Inc. The pilot year enabled OU Health and OKCPS to learn the best way to implement the program across the entire school system. The top three diagnoses have been sore throat, ear pain and eye conditions like pink eye. 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.

In the past year, over 50% of students who participated in the program were able to return to class. Parents 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.

“OKCPS is beyond grateful to our partnership with OU Health to bring telehealth services directly to our students. Access to a healthcare professional during the school day removes a barrier to medical treatment some of our students and families face,” said OKCPS Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel. “Our school nurses may be the only medical professionals our students see on a regular basis and having this service available will help promote and create a healthy learning environment.”

“We have been so excited to be able to provide quality, convenient medical care to some great children through our telehealth partnership with OKC public schools, and we can’t wait to be able to meet and help out even more kids and families as we expand to the rest of the district,” said Kathleen Combs, M.D., OU Health pediatrician and medical director of OU Health’s School-Based Telehealth program.

To sign up your child to the OU Health Telehealth School Program parents must fill out the required consent forms in the parent portal. To see how the virtual visits are carried out watch the YouTube video.