Telehealth has potential fallbacks

Gabby Anderson, Intern

The state of Michigan Enhancement Program granted Monroe Public Schools over $100,000 to provide funding for public school health care clinic. Monroe High has chosen to use the money for an online service called Telehealth. Telehealth is an online doctor service where students can get seen by a doctor via video chat and then given a diagnosis in school. The doctor can even send the student home from school if they feel the student is sick enough.

Although it may be helpful for some students to get health care inside of school, Telehealth poses many challenges and unanswered questions. The online doctors have the power to send students home and even determine if they need other medical attention outside of school as well. Because of the fact that the service is online, it seems difficult to believe that a doctor could give an accurate diagnoses through video chat without being physically present with the student.

Telehealth raises other suspicions because of the fact that the service could be abused. This is a service provided during school hours and some students at school would do anything to get out of class, so faking an illness would not be too far out of the picture. Along with that, consider the fact that if the doctor was permitted to provide a prescription for a patient, the person could abuse it. Also, if a person wants certain medicines, they could fake an injury or illness and get them through this service.

These Telehealth centers are said to work for diagnosing physical health but they are also used to diagnose things like depression, anxiety and mental illness like those previously mentioned. Helping patients with sickness like cold or flu through video chat may seem far-fetched, but now saying that they can cure mental illnesses is hard to believe and poses many questions as to how they would help that type of illness.

Overall, the Telehealth program has lots of potential downfalls and harmful effects on school health care. Students and staff should beware if using the program and should never solely rely on online healthcare.