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Spring Break Alert: Allergies are more than an annoyance for your students

Mar 6, 2018 | by timelymd

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Spring break is nearly here! While students are excited for a little vacation, college administrators may be just as thrilled to enjoy warmer weather. Hitting the beach, the slopes, or just kicking back to catch some March Madness is fun for everyone — so long as you don’t get sick.

Getting sick just before or on vacation is incredibly common. One reason may be the work crunch we put ourselves through just before we take time off. Another may be that warm weather brings with it a spike in seasonal allergies. Often, allergy symptoms are mistaken for other illnesses. Left untreated, what started as a simple allergy can turn into a nasal infection.

Allergies can take students by surprise. Allergies now affect as many of 30% of adults — researchers think about ~50 million people in the United States suffer nasal allergies — and allergies are on the rise. The serious fact for healthcare administrators to consider is that allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in this country.

Telemedicine can help. Easy to access, even on-the-go, TimelyMD programs can accurately triage sick students and guide them to appropriate symptom management. If an ailment goes beyond allergies, a telehealth visit can offer the right prescriptions, or advise students who need to see a doctor to get help. 

Yes, common allergy remedies are available over the counter. But allergy sufferers aren’t always sure what’s making them feel ill, or how to combat symptoms. Billions of dollars are spent each year on avoidable doctor visits for Spring allergies. And for your students, missing a trip due to illness, or finding a healthcare resource far from home or campus may be tricky — and expensive.   

The constant sneezing, watery eyes, and mouth-breathing allergy sufferers face may add up to more than a minor annoyance for your favorite Spring Breakers. If you’re in charge of campus healthcare, allergies and other manageable health issues could be costing students a lot more than you think.

Luckily, it’s easy to put technology to work, saving students time and trouble — whether they feel sick after hours or out of state. Thoughtful telemedicine programs empower you to put healthcare at your students’ fingertips, 24/7, no matter where they roam.

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It’s time to get smart about flu outbreaks on campus

Jan 25, 2018 | by timelymd

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college health, flu

Flu, College Health

Time to get smart about flu outbreaks on campus.

Your students may be the smartest, most responsible kids to ever grace a college campus. But guess what? Despite the deadly nature of flu, they likely fail when it comes to getting a flu shot each year.

While annual vaccination is the best way to reduce the chance of coming down with our friend, influenza, flu vaccination rates on US college campuses are strikingly low — between eight and 39%. And in a campus setting, flu can spread incredibly quickly.

What should a sick student do if they suspect flu? Both act fast and stay home! Isolating sick patients and getting them timely treatment are critical factors in treating flu. Unfortunately, students tend to do exactly the opposite of what they should:

Act fast! Anti-virals like Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) can reduce flu severity and duration if given within 48 hours of flu onset. But too often, students try to push through! Ignoring first symptoms, they may wait too long to get treatment  — all the while infecting their peers.

Stay home! The CDC says “If you go to the emergency room and you are not sick with the flu, you may catch it from people who do have it. So, when our sick student finally decides to head to a campus clinic — or worse, an urgent care or ER — that’s when they may actually catch and/or contribute to flu’s spread!

It doesn’t have to be this way. The smart solution for managing flu across your student population is virtual care. Campuses can offer students an incredibly easy way to get diagnosed, get timely treatment, and reduce potentially contagious contact.

Telemedicine is a cost-effective, convenient way to cut flu cases, flu severity, and flu duration. Imagine our sick student — busy, under deadlines, filled with the optimism of youth, but not feeling so hot today. A quick telehealth visit is all it takes to give that student peace of mind, and faster, more effective treatment if they have the flu.

Visits by laptop or phone are so easy, students are more likely to reach out in a timely manner. If a student does have flu, helpful prescriptions are filled faster to fully benefit the patient. If they do NOT, one more student is saved from contagious contact with peers who really do have the bug.

Today, students who get flu end up sick for eight days or more on average — that’s way too many days of poor academic performance, missed activity, and infecting others. Sick students may not only infect their peers, but also faculty and clinic staff, leading to cancelled classes and further overburdening campus clinics. As flu sweeps through campus, worried parents can become frustrated with university management of student health.

The good news? Virtual care is a natural fit for student lifestyles, making it easy to help students understand how to protect themselves, and how to behave if they suspect flu. Telemedicine creates a valuable communications channel between campus health resources and students — one that can comfort parents, and even remind students to get that flu shot in the first place!

The time to think about next flu season on campus is now. You have the power to simply and significantly change next year’s flu equation for your campus with telemedicine. Talk to TimelyMD today, and take steps to a smarter way to manage flu this coming year — and every year.

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Can we decrease the cost of chronic conditions?

Jan 16, 2018 | by timelymd

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Can we decrease the cost of chronic conditions?

Short answer: Yes, we can. When we look at the overall health of patient populations, a handful of conditions stand out. These acute and chronic conditions are some of  the most costly to manage and are a significant contributor to hospital readmissions.. No doubt you’re familiar with the conditions in the table below:

Think the cost of managing chronic conditions like these is staggering today? They are, and what’s more, those costs continue to rise at an unprecedented rate every year in the US.

The dream is to find a way to take better care of these patients so they cost the system less. Making this dream a reality is of paramount importance to all stakeholders in healthcare, from systems managers to providers to patients. But how can we offer more care without increasing the cost.

Virtual care may be the key. These acute and chronic conditions follow predictable patterns. Improved outcomes can be seen when patients simply stay motivated, comply with treatment programs, and take effective action in times of trouble. That’s where cost-effective interactions can make a huge difference to health outcomes — and to the bottom line.

Ask yourself: What if you could offer your neediest patients a cadence of virtual visits tailored to their condition as part of their treatment program? Telehealth programs can be designed to specifically support acute or chronic conditions, offering patients personalized interactions at just the right times in just the right ways.

The cost of virtual care is affordable. Virtual visits by phone, laptop, or mobile device can leverage motivational interviewing and teach-back techniques to keep patients engaged, increase compliance with treatment plans and promote positive behavior change.

Timely intervention improves patient compliance and staves off costly escalation. The intersection of innovative care strategies with technology can enable health systems to take better care of the most costly and needy patients by giving them more – more frequent and more personalized interactions with caring providers.

There’s no doubt about it. Effective management of acute and chronic diseases can help patients live happier, healthier lives and unlock cost savings for healthcare systems. Telehealth’s role in the care management team is just emerging — the time to design virtual care programs that better support patients and create critical efficiencies is now.

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Healthier students build stronger campus communities.

Jan 10, 2018 | by timelymd

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Healthier students build stronger campus communities.

The physical and mental health of your student population impacts the strength of the university as a whole. Thoughtful telehealth solutions can help you improve student health, optimize campus resources and concretely demonstrate caring for the needs of students and families.

Around-the-clock access to quality healthcare gives both students and parents valuable peace of mind. When students are supported and empowered by telemedicine, colleges see:

  • Better overall health. Untreated illness can spread disease, fuel campus epidemics and promote the overuse of over-the-counter medications.
  • Reduced absenteeism. Illness can hinder student achievement and grade performance, leading schools to loss of reputation, or even accreditation.
  • More extracurricular participation. When students aren’t healthy, they can’t take on additional activities that create a vibrant, attractive campus life.
  • Optimized campus clinics. Seamless integration, accurate triage and after hours support lets clinics focus on the right cases, so students who need appointments get in quickly.
  • Stronger community. Thoughtful telehealth programs offer a new communications channel between school and student — one focused on good health and positive health routines
  • Happy Parents and Students. Convenient, 24/7 access gives parents confidence that students will get the healthcare they need when they need it.

Explore TimelyMD solutions for higher education.

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