A look at the future of in-school health care

  • Dr. Bonnie Offit, left, and Tracey Haines talk with Gotwals reporters about the telehealth pilot program.
May 2018 … Gotwals Elementary Healthy Press reporters recently peeked into the future of in-school health care while interviewing two Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) experts about the school’s remote patient monitoring pilot program.

To learn about the program, the third graders interviewed Dr. Bonnie Offit, a pediatrician and clinical advisor in CHOP’s digital health department, and, Tracey Haines, a portfolio leader in the same department.

Communicating remotely with a doctor will help school nurses determine if a child who is not feeling well can be kept in school, sparing parents or other adults the need to leave work to take the child home, Dr. Offit told the reporters. The communications take place over secure and private computer networks.

If medically needed, the doctor consulting with a school nurse also could suggest medications, Dr. Offit said.

“Isn’t it a neat idea that you could get taken care of at the nurse’s office, rather than have to go home or even go to an emergency room and wait hours and hours to be seen?” Dr. Offit asked the reporters.

The students also watched a brief demonstration in which one of them play-acted the role of an ill child.

School Nurse Rita Anderson, using a miniaturized video camera and a digital stethoscope, allowed Dr. Geoffrey Simon, a CHOP physician who was at home at time, to see into the student’s throat and ears and listen to her lungs.

CHOP and the Norristown Area School District have been piloting the school telehealth program during the 2017–18 school year in three schools.

The kids’ verdict on what they had heard and seen?

Speaking over each other they said, “Cool. Awesome. Amazing. Exciting. Fun.”

–Article and photos by John Fried/Healthy NewsWorks


Return to School & Community News