Investigating Differences in School-Based Telehealth Implementation and Services in the SB TNGP Grantees

Research center:
Rural Telehealth Research Center
Phone: 319.384.3830
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2019
Anticipated completion date:
August 2020

In 2016, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) funded 21 grantees through the School-Based Telehealth Network Grant Program (SB TNGP) to expand access to, and coordinate and improve the quality of, healthcare services offered in schools. Grants were targeted to rural, frontier, and underserved communities providing telehealth services for children, with a focus on five clinical areas: asthma, behavioral health, diabetes, healthy weight, and oral health. The Rural Telehealth Research Center (RTRC) worked with FORHP and the grantees to identify a set of measures applicable to these service areas in school settings, as well as measures of access to care and cost effectiveness. RTRC then identified data elements, and developed a data element dictionary and an Excel-based data collection tool. The grantees used these resources to submit data on all of their telehealth encounters funded through the SB TNGP during six-month measurement periods starting July 1, 2018.

Data collected thus far from SB TNGP grantees have revealed that there is considerable heterogeneity across the SB TNGP grantees in terms of the types of telehealth services they are delivering, the number of students who have received services to date, and their performance on the identified SB TNGP measures.

The principal goal of this project is to gather contextual information from grantees regarding project design and implementation, and the practicalities of delivering telehealth services in school settings that will help explain the heterogeneity found in the data across the grantees. This information will aid in the interpretation of findings of cross-grantee measures data collection that will inform future grant-making, policy changes and sustainability efforts.