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  • Writer's pictureCommunity CareLink

Teleheath ROCKS! Addressing Social Determinants in Rural Environments

Updated: Sep 17, 2022

It has been such a pleasure to work with Coffeyville Public Schools (CPS), in Coffeyville, KS, and the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) Department of Pediatrics on Telehealth ROCKS. Working with a team that truly understands how the right technology can change lives is another reason we love going to work every morning.

For years CPS has been at the forefront of offering therapists in a school setting – community health workers (CHW). CPS Student Services Coordinator Alexis McMillan gives an excellent example of how CHWs help students and teachers focus on education and thereby perform better in school.

After a fire destroyed a student’s home, a CHW stepped in to help the family find the resources they needed to get the students back to school within a few days. This is a role CPS teachers once filled in addition to being an educator. Now, CHWs help students address issues that disrupt their ability to learn, and teachers can concentrate solely on providing a stable and safe classroom for learning.

To this point, CPS has used existing technology to coordinate CHWs and community resources – most recently online shared drives. It helped them do great work, but it didn’t necessarily make the job easier. Ensuring that students’ information was protected required intense limitations on the access to and sharing of information. McMillin and her team understood that with the right technology, an already great program could become even more effective.

Kansas University Department of Pediatrics applied for and was awarded a grant to implement technology in rural Kansas focused on consumer-directed telehealth and the social determinants of health.

Called Telehealth ROCKS Communities, this fantastic project takes the amazing work that CPS is already doing and enhances it with the use of CCL’s software, which means that CPS can track information and share and make referrals in a secure online environment that is HIPAA compliant. Additionally, with telehealth, rural families can now connect with professional services once far out of reach to students.

The project pairs the KUMC Behavioral Pediatrics with rural school districts to increase access for the poorest rural area of Kansas, southeast Kansas.

“As we have prepared for the integration with CCL, on-site and virtual meetings have brought us together to collaborate,” said McMillin. “CPS has been heard and our feedback has been considered in this planning process. Hearing from the CHWs in the field, doing the work already, will allow CCL to produce a functional product for our staff and families as well.”

By collaborating with families and child-serving systems (healthcare, education, behavioral health, social service agencies, advocacy groups, others), Telehealth ROCKS anticipates a strong impact for students and their family, the primary care/medical home practices, and the broader communities.

We are looking forward to the implementation of this new system for the start of the 2022-23 school year (August). If you would like to learn more about how CCL’s technology can enhance the services your organization provides, contact us for a demo.


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