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.
- respiratory disease
- school-based telehealth
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health