Potential Utility of School-Based Telehealth in the Era of COVID-19

Stormee Williams, Luyu Xie, Kristina Hill, Matthew Sunil Mathew, Tamara Perry, Danielle Wesley, Sarah E. Messiah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique opportunities for preexisting school telemedicine programs to reach pediatric populations that might otherwise experience a lapse in health care services. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of one of the largest school-based telemedicine programs in the country, based in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Texas was conducted that included 7021 pediatric patients who engaged in telehealth visits from 2014 to 2019. RESULTS: Asthma or other respiratory disease was the primary diagnosis (28.4%), followed by injury or trauma (18.4%), digestive disorders (6.9%), and ear/eye/skin disease (6.9%). More participants were from the North (34.4%) and West (33.2%) ISD compared to the South (20.6%) and East (11.7%) schools. Likewise, the majority of COVID-19 cases were in the North (61.8%) and West (31.6%) DFW regions, leading to 989 (59.9%) and 551 (33.4%) deaths, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: School-based telehealth programs have the potential to reach large pediatric populations most in need of health care due to COVID-19-related lapses in services, and to address COVID-19-related health issues as schools reopen. In the future, utilization could be expanded to contact tracing, testing, and screening for COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-554
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of School Health
Volume91
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • coronavirus
  • pandemic
  • respiratory disease
  • school-based telehealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Philosophy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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