Telemedicine and Vaccinations: How Children Can Safely Return to School

Guest Authored by Keri Dostie, Director of Marketing, AMD Global Telemedicine

The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. From closing states down and opening them back up with restrictions and encouraged social distancing strategies to increased testing measures, the impact of the virus is at varying levels.

The current progression of the first wave makes it very difficult to predict the future, especially when it comes to our children. For the start of the school year, will they head back to attend in person, or remotely? If students will in fact make it back into the schools, it’s important for parents to ensure their children are up to date with vaccinations.

But children are not yet able to go in for their routine checkups with so many social distancing requirements keeping care facilities from seeing patients at a normal rate. Telemedicine can solve this problem.

To better understand the current landscape of increased care needs and telemedicine potential, we spoke with Lisa Gwynn, DO, MBA, FAAP, CPE, associate professor Clinical Pediatrics and Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Program Director of the Pediatric Mobile Clinic & School Health.

Making use of telemedicine during unprecedented times

Before COVID-19, Dr. Gwynn managed a staff of 13 nurses among 9 different schools, providing care during the school day. Once the pandemic started to make a major impact and close down educational facilities, her roster split into 11 nurses who were assigned to take on COVID-19 testing within the community. This included two of the care providers working out of the mobile clinic to administer and manage virtual visits for patients. This resource has allowed Dr. Gwynn and her staff to see sick kids through the AGNES telemedicine platform and perform vaccine drives in an effort to keep children as up to date with their vaccines in the event of returning to physical school buildings when summer comes to a close.

“We are using it in the community for vaccine drives and well visits because kids are falling behind on their vaccinations,” Dr. Gwynn shared. “Instead of having a provider out there in the field, the provider is connected with them virtually through the AGNES telemedicine platform to make sure they don’t have any symptoms and answers any questions about the vaccinations so they can place the order. Our mobile capabilities have allowed us to fully utilize telehealth technology such as AGNES and connected medical devices when we have limited access to providers.”

The future

Because of the unpredictability of the virus, Dr. Gwynn finds it difficult to predict the future for the children in the community. What she does know, however, is that if schools open up in the fall, students must be vaccinated if they want to return to the classroom.

“The surgeon general for the state of Florida is not going to allow vaccine exemptions or extensions,” she said. “Kids have to be up to date with their vaccinations.”

Dr. Gwynn and her use of telemedicine within a mobile clinic has enabled her to keep children ahead on immunizations to prevent other illnesses that could occur during the pandemic and make matters far worse for all.

“The telehealth efforts towards vaccinations, which is kind of a unique, new way of using the technology, has been game-changing for us all,” she shared.

As social distancing continues to be a high priority across the country, the need for more versatility in care delivery is a must. Telemedicine can help care providers continue keeping communities healthy during the pandemic and beyond.

Keri Dostie is the Director of Marketing at AMD Global Telemedicine and thrives on being part of the customer-focused team at AMD. Keri has nineteen years of marketing experience and joined AMD in 2013 to lead marketing strategy and drive communication activities. Passionate about understanding healthcare professionals’ specific telemedicine needs, Keri plays a critical role in building relationships within target market areas and increasing customer engagement for AMD.