Today's Democrat & Chronicle highlights an alliance between the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and the Rochester City School District which may improve the treatment of children with asthma. Researchers headed by Dr. Jill Halterman, professor of pediatrics at URMC, are using a federal grant to explore the effects of a combination of telemedicine and active intervention in the school setting on treatment compliance.
The school district estimates that as many as ten percent of its students have asthma, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. With these children spending six hours a day in school, the district experiences the results of poor compliance with medical treatments for the illness. The study will try to determine if compliance, and the student's educational experience, can be improved.
The students in the study have been evaluated by trained technicians and medical testing transmitted to off-site physicians. The students are then going to be helped to take their asthma medications by being called to the nurse's office for that treatment. With in-school medication and the contact with the nurse, the study hopes to find if there is carry over into the home where asthma medications can be skipped or overlooked without reminders.
The study is titled "School-Based Preventive Asthma Care Technology." It is one of three currently underway in Dr. Halterman's laboratory that explore increasing patient and parental contacts, as well as the use of telemedical procedures, to provide better care and improved health to school children with asthma. The National Institutes of Health estimate that seven million children have asthma in the United States.