Skip to main content

Mary Rutan Hospital Brings Virtual Health to Local Schools

Community news | Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Utilizing the latest in health care technology to deliver expert convenient care, Mary Rutan Hospital Virtual Health visits will be available this fall to students in the Indian Lake and Riverside school systems. Mary Rutan Hospital Virtual Health will provide the necessary equipment and health care expertise to rollout this program to area students.

“Riverside Local Schools are honored to be in partnership with Mary Rutan Hospital to provide a health clinic for our students, staff and community,” said Scott Mann, Superintendent Riverside Local Schools. "We saw this as an opportunity to improve access to healthcare for our students, as well as supporting busy parents and keeping children healthy, in school and learning.”

If your child is at school and becomes ill, getting them diagnosed and treated quickly is your number-one priority. However, it can sometimes be difficult to suddenly leave work or other responsibilities to get your child to the doctor’s office. Now, for illnesses that need a higher level of care, students at Riverside and Indian Lake will have virtual access to providers at Mary Rutan Hospital Urgent Care without ever leaving the school nurse’s office.

“I have technology to listen to heart sounds, look in ears, at skin and in mouths,” said Dr. Deron Horman, a physician at Mary Rutan Hospital Urgent Care. “The school can only connect with us if the school nurse is available,” he said. “The nurse will play a key role, acting as an extension of the provider, in making this a convenient and smooth process.”

Virtual Health has benefits beyond parents’ convenience and peace of mind. For children without a family physician or transportation to get to a primary care provider, the program offers the potential to improve access to routine care. It also seeks to improve chronic disease management among the student population, with the goal of ultimately improving outcomes and overall health.

“Reducing absenteeism and improving students’ – and often employees’ access to health care is really the goal here. Our school nurse will do the triaging to determine who can most benefit from a virtual health visit, enhancing the typical visit to our nurse’s office,” said Rob Underwood, Superintendent Indian Lake Schools. “If we can keep them at school and take away one more reason for them to miss, that’s what superintendents like.”

Virtual Health empowers school nurses to meet more of the student’s health care needs. “School nurses are the only health care provider in the schools, so having this opportunity for them to work with other medical professionals to provide the best possible care for the students is a wonderful collaborative effort," said Dr. Horman. “If a child shows up at the nurse’s office with an earache, I can easily examine the ear, make a diagnosis if antibiotics are needed and have a prescription called in before the parent ever needs to leave work. Of course none of this is done without prior consent from the parent.”

OCN ConnectedCare CEO Brian Slusser leads the Columbus based company that developed the innovative platform used to outfit the clinics with state-of-the-art technology. Slusser said, “we’re excited about our managed health innovation partnership with Mary Rutan Hospital, assisting them to provide more patients quality care where they work, live and even go to school.”

Mary Rutan Hospital expects to offer Virtual Health to other area schools, after the initial pilot program has been launched.