School-based Health Program Helps Child Manage Asthma

“It works, it’s better now,” Zaire said. "I like to sing and I like to dance and I can dance now, without my chest hurting.”


In Sumter, ten-year-old Zaire Warren suffered from severe asthma symptoms until he started receiving care through a school-based health program that used telehealth to connect him virtually to a doctor. After months of close care, Zaire’s health drastically improved. He was finally able to be as active as any other boy his age. 


More than 200 schools in South Carolina are served by the school-based telehealth program provided by the Medical University of South Carolina in partnership with other organizations including the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance. Through the program, students have improved access to health care for sick visits, acute care, and chronic condition management for conditions including asthma and ADHD. A behavioral health component is also available to students. 


The program partners with local school districts throughout the state to provide telehealth equipment that allows a physician to see and hear everything happening during an exam in real-time. Benefits of school-based telehealth include decreased emergency department visits and less missed work for parents or guardians. Students also remained in school instead of missing class to travel to health appointments. 


“The goal of the program is to increase seat time,” said Erinn Kasubinski, Nurse Manager of the School-based Telehealth Program at MUSC. “We average 97 or 98 percent which means if a student comes and sees one of our providers as long as they’re not infectious that is the percentage of time we’re able to have them go back to class and continue to learn.”


Zaire’s mother, Danielle Smith, said she hasn’t had to miss work to pick up Zaire from school since he began using telehealth visits to manage his asthma. 


“Telehealth has helped us tremendously,”Smith said. “They made sure that Zaire has all of his medications, I really haven’t had to miss work, haven’t had to go pick him up, he hasn’t really had an asthma attack- it has been a wonderful help.”