As students settle into their dorms and classes they have a new way to see a doctor: over the Internet. CampusMD and American Well have teamed up to address a gap in student access to medical care using American Well’s telehealth platform. This innovative service allows students to see and speak with a physician, ask questions, and get a diagnosis from anywhere, anytime they need care, over an iPad, iPhone, or Android mobile device, or from any computer with a webcam and browser.
The American College Health Association Spring ’12 survey reports that 50% of students get sick at least once a year at school, and 22% report dropping a class, stopping work on a major research project, or earning a lower grade due to illness. According to the CDC, one-half of the 20 million STD cases diagnosed each year occur in young adults ages 15-24; within the college population, estimates of infection are as high as 25%.
While some college campuses have a student health center, few offer care around the clock. CampusMD will offer students fast access to care with a US Board Certified and licensed doctor of their choice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
“Students often don’t get the care they need for many reasons: There may be no health center on campus, the options for when it's closed may be limited, or students procrastinate,” says Larry Moneta, EdD, vice president for student affairs at Duke University and a CampusMD board member. “With access to a physician from any device, illnesses can be caught early and students can get back to class.”
He adds that even when students remain on their parents’ insurance plans, they may be out-of-network at their school and vulnerable to high out-of-pocket costs. “CampusMD assures that students have a doctor wherever they go to college and likely at a far lower cost than the ER or urgent care center.”
Parents and students can purchase a subscription to CampusMD for $18 per month. Students can log on; read physician ratings and profiles, including where they went to school and how long they’ve been practicing; and select the doctor that’s right for them. They connect to the physician via video and have a face-to-face conversation for information, diagnosis, treatment, and prescriptions.
“As parents, this gives us real peace of mind,” says Dara Feldman, whose son Jake attends James Madison University. “Knowing that he can reach a doctor quickly while he’s away from home makes us feel better. Plus, going to college is a big step, and learning to take care of your health is a huge part of that.”
CampusMD also addresses the needs of students attending career schools, grad students who work while they purse advanced degrees, international students, and undergrads living in off-campus housing.
Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements could widen the student health care gap. The ACA is expected to have a significant financial impact on college-provided care. Starting in 2014, the ACA mandates much higher dollar coverage on existing health services as well as numerous new services colleges must cover. These mandates are forcing many schools to reconsider whether they can afford to provide health care on campus, leaving a growing number of students without adequate care.
“Many colleges are getting out of the business of providing student health care,” says Duke’s Larry Moneta. “It just doesn’t make financial sense anymore.”
Roy Schoenberg, CEO of American Well Systems, agrees. “The gap in students’ access to health care is widening. We’re delighted to partner with CampusMD to help address that gap and bring affordable, quality care to students when they need it.”
Sources: American Well and CampusMD