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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Campus

Student Health Center offers telemedicine programs to reach students remotely


Since going remote, the telemedicine programs have served over 1000 patients, said Dr. Vanessa Tilney, the Executive Director and Chief Physician of the Student Health Center. | Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

Since going remote, the telemedicine programs have served over 1,000 patients, said Dr. Vanessa Tilney, the executive director and chief physician of the Student Health Center. | Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

In compliance with Harris County’s “Stay Home, Work Safe” order, the Student Health Center is offering telemedicine programs to assist students.

Telehealth, the center’s general medicine and women’s health platform, and telepsychiatry, its mental health platform, differ physical visits but aim to provide the same amount of care by offering students access to certified health professionals.

“The health center’s telemedicine services contribute to a significant component of effective patient management during such a time when traditional health care delivery systems may become overwhelmed, and patients may need to be … managed by remote providers,” said Dr. Vanessa Tilney, the executive director and chief physician of the Student Health Center.

The process starts when students seeking medical care contact the Student Health Center and request a visit. After the student is put on the schedule, they are contacted by a member of the clinical team to be screened on various criteria.

At that point, the patient is given the needed video conferencing links to meet with the provider. Once the visit is over, the patient is given any orders for labs, imaging, etc.

For students who are concerned about whether they have COVID-19, the Student Health Center can provide guidance and resources.

“We can help assess if they are likely to have contracted the illness through an interview, provide recommendations regarding self-care and observation, give guidance as to whether or not they meet the criteria for testing and provide the needed resource information such as where to go get tested,” Tilney said. 

Each virtual visit is 15 to 20 minutes for general medicine and 30 to 60 minutes for psychiatry. All information during the visits is confidential. 

“We use a HIPAA compliant and secure telehealth platform to interface with the patients,” Tilney said. “The patient is provided a personalized room link to join in for the video call.” 

There is no out-of-pocket cost for students enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan, and for all other eligible patients there is a self-pay rate of $20 for telehealth and $40 for telepsychiatry, Dr. Tilney said.

Tilney suggested students to also consider other UH health and well-being services that are free or low cost such as Counseling and Psychological Services, Cougars in Recovery, Campus Recreation & Wellness Center and the Center for Students with Disabilities.

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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