NASD Nurses Connect Students, Doctors with TytoCare Pilot


Mathya Clay

TytoCare, located in the nurse suite, connects students directly with doctors for a stronger examination.

Mathya Clay, Copy Editor

If you’ve been to Norristown Area High School’s nurse suite in the last year, you know what a regular nurse visit includes: you tell them what’s wrong and they tell you whether it’s worth sending you home, possibly recommending you even see a doctor. As this routine still take place, a new product has been introduced to Norristown Area High School nurse staff that could change a nurse visit for NAHS students.

Telehealth could be a futuristic (or 21st century) version of going to see the doctor. It is defined as any form of health care, education, or administration performed electronically or via telecommunicatios.  Organizations promote telehealth as never having to miss a day of work or school for an appointment or do the tedious task of scheduling appointments. TytoCare, a specific program with telehealth services, allows you to get quick access to a doctor or physician without leaving the comfort of home or school.

For Norristown Area High school, TytoCare is the first of its kind to be implemented in a nurse facility inside the Norristown Area School District. The students who permit the use of TytoCare will have the option of being seen by a doctor who is able to diagnose what is wrong with the student and prescribe them medicine when needed through what is essentially a secure FaceTime. The nurses will use special adapters for the skin, throat, ears, and more to help navigate the physician’s examination.

The telehealth program was first introduced to NASD in 2018 when Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) approached NAHS about piloting the program. Nurse Donna Gill said, “We feel very lucky to be chosen.” With a year of training and practicing on themselves, Gill said the nurses feel capable and ready to take on the new program. All they’re waiting for is permission from students’ guardians.

“We’d like to use it more,” said Gill. “The more permission we get back, the more we’ll be able to utilize it.”

According to a recent study conducted by the Sackler School of Medicine and Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Isreal, TytoCare exams were considered “good to excellent” regarding the quality of data it collected and user experience.  TytoCare soon might be the future of what a nurse visit is in NASD, as the district anticipates a future with TytoCare being used in all schools in the district.

While Norristown began to implement TytoCare because it was approached by CHOP, other schools may have adopted it to meet different needs. Sources have reported that some schools are using telehealth programs to counteract the lack of funding for nurses. According to mHealthIntelligence, “Today’s school districts don’t have the funding to put a nurse in every school, and those who do exist are often overwhelmed by a variety of issues.” There are schools that use telehealth to replace needed nurses, but Gill does not believe that is the case for Norristown.

“We didn’t ask for it, right now they have nurses in every building,” said Gill. “Some school districts do have schools that don’t have enough nurses but that’s not the case here.” She insists Norristown Area School District uses telehealth only to better what they have, not to replace it.

TytoCare is awaiting use at Norristown Area High School. The only choice students must make is whether they want to incorporate this form of healthcare into their personal school life. It seems that many will be doing so, as the nurse suite continues to promote its version of telehealth.