The concept of focusing on the health of the whole person instead of one illness or specialty is not new, but the Patient Centered Medical Home or PCMH movement has been a major part of legislation and healthcare transformation in recent years. One aspect of that model is simple, provide healthcare where the patient is and not where the doctors are located. The most efficient and reasonable way to do that for students is to take the healthcare support to the schools. School based healthcare has also been around for decades. However, the ability to reach beyond the walls of the school and gain access to primary care and specialists, is more possible with more advanced telecommunications technologies available today. Virtual visits are becoming more common and will soon be the primary method for students to have healthcare check-ups, screenings, and more specific consultations based on their needs. Considered part of the nation’s safety net, school based health centers have grown to over 2000 locations and have become essential to many families.
Age-appropriate healthcare services include primary medical care, mental and behavioral health, dental and oral health care, health education, substance abuse counseling, case management and nutrition education. Acute illnesses and chronic conditions can be managed using local medical assistants and nursing staff at the school who connect with doctors and specialists as needed for their student population.