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More Sevier County School students can avoid visits to the doctor’s office this Fall and Winter.
In 2008, the school district implemented a Telemedicine program in all K through 8 grade schools.
This Fall, the student health care system is spreading to the district’s four high schools. That places the program in 22 schools county wide. A school nurse and student use video technology to speak with a nurse practitioner on the other end of the camera. Cherokee Health Systems provides the practioner who diagnoses the students and writes prescriptions if needed.
“Right at 4,000 students have been diagnosed on it since we introduced it,” said Don Best, Health Coordinator for the school system. Best said school wide illnesses have decreased since the program started. “Where we used to miss three and four and five days in a year, we might have missed a day. Last year, we did not miss any for the flu,” Best said. “I think it will allow the ones well enough to be here to be here, but if they are sick enough they need to go home…we can send them home,” said Paige Ownby, a registered nurse at Pigeon Forge High School. Best believes the technology will be used in other Tennessee school districts very soon.