Expanding health care service – virtually

By Pulse Staff

The University of Findlay offers more options for students facing physical or mental health issues this fall.

TimelyCare, a virtual health and well-being company for higher education, will help Cosiano Health Center and Counseling Services by offering 24/7/365 care for students supplementing both physical and mental health care service on campus, according to Associate Vice President for Safety and Wellness Skylar Mettert.

“After reviewing feedback from our students, we began researching ways to improve access to services,” Mettert said in an email interview.

A Student Voice survey conducted in April and May included 3,000 two- and four-year college respondents at 158 institutions. It found that three in four students say stress is negatively impacting their ability to learn, focus and do well academically.

In the past, students expressed concern about how long it takes to get an appointment with a counselor at Counseling Services.

This year, Director of Counseling Services Jodi Firsdon says her office is fully staffed with four counselors. She will work with TimelyCare to monitor those students who get help from the telehealth service.

“I track the information for the Counseling portion of the TimelyCare,” Firsdon said in an email interview. “Tara Smith, Director of Cosiano Health Services, tracks the medical side of the services. We are only able to see the information that applies to our departments.”

She says Mettert will have access to the overall data of how many students are using the system.

Firsdon says that for the most part, TimelyCare will operate independently in caring for students.

“Follow-up would occur in situations where there is an emergency or an urgent issue that needs addressed,” Firsdon said.

The Student Voice survey also found half of students who rate their mental health as poor have not used campus mental health resources and a “quarter of Student Voice respondents say they’ve accessed on-campus counseling. Twelve percent have used telecounseling, either from a campus counselor or arranged by their college.”

Mettert hopes TimelyCare services will supplement and expand the on-campus medical and mental health services that are already in place.

“We are excited to be able to offer new resources to students where traditional services are not a good fit,” Mettert said.

There are other new initiatives this year regarding health care for students.

“UF will also be implementing a new electronic health record system for Cosiano, Counseling Services, and the Office of Accommodation and Inclusion,” Mettert said. “This is will help to increase efficiency for these offices to better serve students.”

Firsdon says they also updated walk-in hours to better align with students’ needs. Walk-in hours are Tuesday from 2-4 p.m. and Friday from 10-11:30 am (when classes are in sessions).

“Launching TimelyCare and a new electronic health record system is a major undertaking and we are hopeful that this will assist in meeting the needs of the students,” Mettert said.