Member Spotlight: AMD Global Telemedicine

Depending on whom you ask, telemedicine is the next frontier for school health. To help us understand technology’s growing role in health, especially its potential application in schools, we recently spoke with Alliance member Keri Dostie, Director of Marketing for AMD Global Telemedicine.

“All too often, children are left not getting the medical attention they need due to limited access to proper health care. This is where telemedicine is now making a significant impact,” explained Keri.

According to Keri, a common misconception about telemedicine is that it is just videoconferencing. However, the true power of telemedicine technology is the ability to virtually deliver a clinical examination using medical devices and diagnostic equipment. Specialized medical equipment is used to relay health data from a patient to a doctor in real-time. A “telepresenter” is with the patient to operate the technology, take vital signs, and facilitate the remote appointment. These telepresenters can include paramedics, techs, and nurses. In SBHCs, a nurse practitioner often fulfills this role and a pediatrician will serve as the consulting physician at a remote location.

This model is particularly valuable for rural areas. In those areas, the distance to the nearest provider or medical clinic often hinders children from getting seen by a health care professional on a regular basis. For that reason, treating children where they are—school—just makes sense. Telemedicine via SBHCs makes it easy for students to receive primary care services without having to miss school for a doctor’s appointment. Indeed, in the Alliance’s 2013-14 Census of School-Based Health Centers, we found that 12.7% of rural SBHCs have adopted telemedicine, compared to just 7.3% of all SBHCs.

“The Center for Rural Health Innovation (CRHI), a North Carolina nonprofit that focuses on increasing access for rural communities, was able to put AMD Global Telemedicine’s technology to the test recently,” said Keri. “An uninsured immigrant child visited the nurse at one of their SBHCs with what was suspected to be a severe case of poison ivy. Our general examination camera came through as the perfect tool for a remote physician to examine the skin rash, diagnose the issue, and prescribe a treatment plan. The rash would have gone untreated if the remote physician hadn’t seen the child that day via telemedicine. Otherwise, the child may have ended up in the emergency room later on, forced to pay the high costs associated with such a visit.”

Though telemedicine will never replace face-to-face care, it can help with preventative care, follow-up visits, and preliminary diagnoses. “Our company started 25 years ago, focused on outfitting medical personnel with specialized medical devices so they could share medical data and images with remote providers. Back then, those devices had to be connected to expensive ‘codec’ (coder‐decoder) hardware, so the cost to do telemedicine was very high,” said Keri. “Now, our company’s bread and butter is connecting medical devices to our AGNES Interactive technology, which aggregates the data from the medical devices in a more cost-effective way and shares it in real-time with the remote provider.”

AMD Global Telemedicine has a passion for bringing their cutting-edge technology to SBHCs. The value of their technology boils down to this, Keri says: “We believe in helping health care providers deliver medical attention to children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to what many consider mainstream care. Telemedicine is truly the tool to make this happen.”

For more information on how you can bring AMD Global Telemedicine’s equipment into your SBHC, visit their website at http://www.amdtelemedicine.com/telemedicine-equipment/telemed-ed-system.html.

The School-Based Health Alliance is a network of dedicated members who are leveling health care disparities for children and teens across the United States. To help draw attention to their work, we’ll regularly highlight our organizational members on our blog.

Want to see your organization’s work highlighted? If you are already a member, send us a message at communications@sbh4all.org. If you’re not a member, become one today!

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