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Discussion with Rachel | Rethinking Telehealth Emergency Responses

Coviu interviews SLP and influencer Rachel Archambault on the telehealth response to a recent measles outbreak in her local school district.

Reassessing Teletherapy Responses Amid School Measles Outbreaks: Moving Beyond a Reactionary Approach

Rachel Archambault MA CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Program Specialist for Broward County Public Schools and co-presenter on the Speech Science podcast. Apart from her biggest passion for educating other SLPs about trauma-informed education and how to use this in SLP practice via her Instagram PTSD SLP, she is an avid telehealth advocate encouraging clinicians to rethink the way they are delivering healthcare.

rachel archambault

Rachel Archambault MA CCC-SLP


Rachel shares firsthand insights with Coviu into challenges faced by schools and professionals amid recent measles outbreaks. With four-year-old telehealth emergency response documents being revisited during a measles outbreak, Rachel emphasizes the need for personalized teletherapy documentation that incorporates learnings from the COVID digital test ground. This discussion highlights the importance of improvement to existing telehealth documentation and is a call for SLPs to look at teletherapy cases beyond emergency use.

Sophie: Can you describe the measles outbreak schools are facing at the moment and how telehealth has been used as a solution to school closures? 

Rachel: So I work in the sixth largest school district in the country, and we have around 230,000 students attending school. One specific school alerted us to a case of measles present at an elementary school last Thursday. And then every day since then, it's been two cases, then three cases. Now, less than a week later, we are up to six cases. As a result, our school district decided to close that particular school for 21 days and to use telehealth to continue delivering speech pathology services during the incubation period.

Sophie: How has the response to telehealth in this context been?

With this measles outbreak, emergency documents have been utilized for the first time in almost four years, identical to the documents that were used when COVID was announced. 

Sophie: What do you think needs to change?

Rachel: Well the plans I've seen schools using to administer telehealth during this outbreak were developed during the emergency context of COVID, and we've learned so much about virtual care since then and how best practices can deliver terrific outcomes for students. My opinion is that schools would benefit from evaluating and updating their existing emergency documentation regarding telehealth.

Sophie: What do you think those documents should consider now?

Rachel: They should consider individual history, accommodations, and parental involvement. They need to be more individualized, like an IEP, considering students' strengths and needs, and their history with teletherapy - which most students have by now.

Sophie: Have you noticed that certain perceptions surrounding telehealth during the COVID emergency were influenced by the utilization of conventional corporate software for healthcare delivery?

Rachel: Absolutely. Platforms like Coviu's, with minimized interfaces and specific features for speech assessments, are more suitable. Zoom, designed for business meetings, didn't cater well to educational environments.

Sophie: What are your thoughts on people still viewing telehealth as an emergency response?

Rachel: When COVID happened in 2020, we didn't have any plans in place for going virtual. We were thrown in, with just a week of training on platforms like Google Meet. It was very basic, and people needed explanations. We had no system built for teletherapy. So in a way, COVID resulted in a possibly traumatic experience of telehealth for some clinicians. Some people are stuck thinking of teletherapy as only for emergencies. It takes time for them to understand its benefits outside of emergencies. 

Sophie: We find that at Coviu too and that now we have the opportunity to learn from those experiences and improve our platforms. Educating colleagues on successes is vital. Would you agree?

Rachel: Yes, because I've had many great experiences with telehealth myself, I am passionate about advocating for successful experiences with teletherapy is important. Kids have thrived in virtual environments, feeling safe and supported at home. It's also given them valuable tech skills. 

Sophie: That's great insight. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this! It's great that you are shining a light on how clinicians can really unlock the benefits of telehealth by reevaluating their current approaches and processes.

Follow Rachel Archambault via her Instagram PTSD SLP.

SLPs kids

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