BOSTON (CBS) — “School isn’t my favorite thing to do. I think ‘Eh’ about school.” Not an uncommon sentiment among 10-year-olds like Eli Bak of Belmont, but there’s one subject he really struggles with: writing.
“He has difficulty with things that require a lot of handwork and difficulty with things that require a lot of steps,” says Randy Bak, Eli’s father.READ MORE: Oil Spill Settlement To Fund Loon Conservation Projects
Bak’s parents consulted with Dr. Marilyn Augustyn, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at Boston Medical Center. She wanted to rule out attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
“It’s the kind of diagnosis that I really need parent and teacher information for,” she says. “And so that’s why mehealth was just perfect.”
Mehealth for ADHD is an online application developed by a company in Marlborough.
“It was a way that I could get that information in a really fast way and a really efficient way,” says the doctor, “Without having to fax and try to call.”
The mehealth platform allows teachers and parents to fill out behavioral questionnaires on a computer, a tablet, or smart phone, and submit them wirelessly to their pediatrician who analyzes the data to make a diagnosis.
Augustyn says this particular child, because they had several inattentive symptoms, they decided to treat him. Filling out the online evaluation for both a parent and a teacher takes no more than 10-to-15 minutes.READ MORE: Connecticut Becomes 1st State To Make All Prison Phone Calls Free
The doctor was lucky to get 20 percent of paper questionnaires back, but now she gets most of them, and through the secure portal, teachers and parents can email her with regular observations.
“They tell me when kids aren’t interested in gym,” she says. “They tell me when kids don’t want to eat their lunch…It’s made my job a lot easier and better. I feel like I’m practicing better medicine,” Augustyn said.
Through mehealth, Eli was found not to have ADHD but says he’ll continue to give writing his best effort.
“If I don’t succeed, I don’t succeed,” he explains. “If I succeed, I succeed.”
Mehealth became commercially available two years ago and costs each doctor about $200 for the service, which Augustyn says is worth it given how much time she saves collecting information.
She says while many of her parents don’t have computers or printers, almost everyone has a smart phone, making it highly accessible to families.MORE NEWS: 5 Rescued From The Water After Boat Overturns Near Marion
The questionnaires are also available in both English and Spanish.