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story.lead_photo.caption RACHEL DICKERSON/MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS Nurse Melinda Taylor (right) uses a specialized instrument to measure Payton Eckman's heartbeat during a telemedicine demonstration at Rocky Comfort School on Wednesday, Aug. 14.

McDonald County Schools and Freeman Neosho Hospital announced last week a new program that will bring healthcare to students without students having to leave school -- telemedicine.

Paula Baker, president and CEO of Freeman Neosho Hospital, said the company has partnered with the school district for a few years and is now making telemedicine available. She said the program will result in healthier students. She said Freeman understands how difficult it is for a parent to take a day off work and lose a day's pay or half a day's pay. This is the only telemedicine program in their service area, she noted.

Telemedicine is not meant to replace primary care; however, students can receive care for allergies, asthma, colds, flu, fever, rashes, coughing, pinkeye, headaches and many other symptoms and conditions, Baker said.

After using the telemedicine tools, a nurse can call in a prescription to the family's pharmacy, she said.

Renee Denton, chief operating officer for Freeman Neosho Hospital, said rural communities do have a significant challenge with traveling, especially when a parent has to suddenly take off work to take a child to the doctor. With telemedicine, the child can be diagnosed and treated without leaving the nurse's office.

The program works by using technology to connect the nurse's office to a Freeman provider, a doctor or a nurse practitioner. If a nurse determines the student needs these resources, they call the parent, and the parent is encouraged to stay on the phone during their child's appointment. Using computers, cameras, monitors and specialized medical tools, the nurse and the Freeman provider will conduct the exam together.

Parents will receive information packets about telemedicine, which will be available at White Rock, Rocky Comfort and Southwest City schools. To preregister, go to freemanhealth.com/schoolbasedmedicine.

Superintendent Mark Stanton said, "I think the telehealth program that Freeman is partnering with us is a fantastic opportunity for our students and staff and parents. Transportation to health care facilities in McDonald County is tough because of how spread out we are. Our school district is 428 square miles, and because of that, it creates a hurdle for our students and parents in receiving healthcare services. With Freeman and telehealth, this will make it easier."

General News on 08/22/2019

Print Headline: McDonald County Schools Welcome Telemedicine

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