Telemedicine Program Seeks to Improve Regional Asthma Care in New York State

A partnership between the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Rochester City School District has used a $3.6 million grant from the National Institute of Health to bring telemedicine services for asthma patients into city schools, according to a Democrat and Chronicle report.

Telemedicine assistants at the schools are able to upload digital stethoscope readings and other patient information to an online database for URMC physicians to review, keeping students in school and out of the emergency department, and their parents at work. Researchers are currently using the grant funding to optimize the program, as well as provide access for the service, which is not covered by insurance, to all students, according to the report.

The goal is to develop a program that can be replicated across the country to reduce both preventable emergency department visits and school absences. "This is all about prevention," Jill Halterman, MD, professor of pediatrics at URMC and the study's principal investigator, said in the report. "Asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders of childhood, and it's a very high-cost disorder, because parents miss a lot of work because of their child's asthma, and there are a lot of healthcare costs associated with it because of emergency visits."

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