Class Act: Austin ISD to bring new telemedicine program to campuses

Starting this month, Austin ISD will make it easier for students to be seen by a doctor and thanks to technology, they won't even need to leave campus. 

Telemedicine will soon become a real option for Austin ISD students. The district is partnering with the Austin-based Virtual Care for Kids program to bring on-demand pediatricians to health rooms at all of its campuses this spring.

"We're in collaboration with our school nurses with telehealth to really be able to increase that access to healthcare services for all kids, all families who have consented to receive this type of service," AISD health services director Tracy Spinner said.

School nurses along with a network of pediatricians at 14 Urgent Care for Kids clinics in Texas can assess, diagnose and treat all types of minor injuries and illnesses through telemedicine.

"They can do such things as rapid strep tests, rapid flu tests in the health room on campus," Spinner said.

If tests come back positive and prescription medication is needed, a doctor will call it in to a pharmacy.

"If they have to call in a prescription, the doctor will have that information on file from the parent's health history form that they've completed during the registration process," Spinner said.

This can save parents time and improve student health and attendance. Virtual Care for Kids accepts all forms of insurance and Medicaid. Also, children without insurance won't be turned away thanks to a charity care component of the program.

"So, if we can get kids seen sooner by a pediatrician on campus, they can have a diagnosis sooner and also they can start to feel better sooner," Spinner said. "And, so that is really our goal: we want kids to feel better, to attend school every single day in the district - and have quality access to not only healthcare but education."

For more information or to register a student for the Virtual Care for Kids program, visit Austin ISD's website.

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