The University of Kansas' Medical Center will utilize PC-based technology to link physicians with children visiting the school nurse office at eight schools in Wyandotte County. Physicians will provide a wide array of services via telemedicine, including check-ups; acute examinations for ear infections, strep throat, respiratory problems or rashes; managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, or asthma; and telepsychiatry and telepsychology for children with behavioral and learning disorders.
Pre-signed parental consent forms will be required, and all parents will be invited to attend their child's consult. The project hopes to minimize transportation and other costs to parents and provide service where children are found during the day: at school. Schools were selected to participate in this project based on student populations with chronic or acute episodic health conditions and with inadequate access to timely health services.
Providing telemedicine to this underserved urban population will significantly affect the lives of the children and their families in the county. Children in this community are not receiving adequate access to health care services. As a result, children are missing school more frequently and for longer periods of time. Introducing telemedicine in these elementary schools may help to alleviate many of the access problems inherent in the current health care delivery system. All children in these schools will be able to receive care, regardless of whether or not they have health insurance. Also, children will receive appropriate and immediate care by physicians. In the current system, the school nurse can only refer the child to a physician and hope the appropriate follow-up occurs. The increase in quality of care through this project will reduce recovery time, thereby returning a healthy child to school sooner and reducing absenteeism. Inadequate access to health care for children is not limited to Wyandotte County. This project will serve as a national model. The State of Kansas and the largest social service agency in Missouri will partner to evaluate and disseminate the project's findings.
The project brings together all parties in the delivery system, including 1) the purchaser (Kansas Medicaid and Blue Cross/Blue Shield), 2) the clients (elementary school children), and 3) the providers, including physicians and health providers at Kansas City Medical Center.