How telemedicine can help keep flu season under control  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Flu season is upon us. It's a good time to remember the best protection is to stay ahead of it and keep it from spreading within our communities.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends annual flu vaccination as the best way to protect against the contagious respiratory illness, many people will abstain from receiving the vaccine. This act has a major impact on those exposed to large populations, especially children in school.

When students with the flu or another virus attend classes, they put other kids and teachers in jeopardy for getting sick. By diagnosing these flu symptoms sooner and dismissing children from school at the right stage of the illness, facilities can prevent a flu outbreak early on. Telemedicine can be the tool to ensure this proactive stance happens successfully.

How does telemedicine impact flu season?

Telemedicine enables doctors to treat patients from afar, which can be incredibly beneficial for school systems during the flu season. Not only can facilities connected via telemedicine provide assistance and preventative care for students with early flu symptoms, but they can also treat students in the beginning stages of the virus and reduce exposing contagious students to a larger population, according to mHealth Intelligence.

Telehealth can enable protection for the healthy population and prevent the spread of the virus. This benefit can help schools dismiss children with the flu at the appropriate time and keep healthy students and teachers in class.

Success story: Sevier County Schools & Cherokee Health

For almost a decade, schools in Sevier County, Tennessee, have noticed improved overall health quality and reduced absences due to illness in students. Why? Because the school district has partnered with Cherokee Health Systems to integrate telemedicine health technology into their buildings.

"Sevier County has gone five years without closing a school down due to the flu."

 

By leveraging telemedicine technology, this partnership has completed over 11,000 telemedicine encounter visits that have enabled students to receive immediate diagnosis and treatment for strep throat, flu and other common illness. The telemedicine program with Cherokee Health Systems also helps students and teaching staff track and monitor ongoing issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and nutrition. As a result of the health and wellness initiatives with telemedicine, Sevier County has gone five years without closing a single school down due to seasonal flu outbreak. This is a big win for them, considering they previously had to shut down all the schools due to more than 20% of their population being infected by the flu.

 

By utilizing telemedicine solutions, more schools can detect flu symptoms during early stages of the virus by providing a full assessment and examination with the nurse. Telemedicine allows administrative staff to minimize distractions caused by sickness, such as missed school days, which can ensure education remains the top priority.