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How a Pandemic, Technology and Legislation is Changing University Health Care

Insights | How a Pandemic, Technology and Legislation is Changing University Health Care
Campus Health February 2021

Colleges and universities are poised to predict the future. Armed with data and technology and focused on thinking big, higher education is equipped to plan ahead.

Yet, none could predict the ways university healthcare would change in 2020.

A once-in-a-century pandemic, an explosion of health technology and a new healthcare-focused presidential administration have left colleges and universities with a host of new challenges – and innovative solutions.

How University Health Care Has Changed

There are some real factors for campus health officials to consider as they look to the second half of the 2020-2021 school year and beyond. Some of these aspects include:

  • Proposed Affordable Care Act (ACA) expansion and additional public healthcare options, increasing choices for students and campus employees alike
  • Enforced COVID-19 mitigation techniques, including required mask-wearing, increased testing access and vaccination
  • Increased on-campus stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 outbreaks on campus
  • Heightened need for virtual health care access due to pandemic restrictions
  • Sharpened increase in on-campus mental health issues due to pandemic stresses

With these unique and varied issues facing campuses, administrations must assess what they need to tackle current problems and prepare for a safer, healthier future.

What Your Campus Can Do to Mitigate Current Health Care Challenges

There are a few key areas to address as your campus prepares to tackle current and future health care issues stemming from the changes of 2020.

1.    Centralize healthcare efforts

When it comes to protecting your campus health, you need to act quickly and efficiently in a synchronized effort. Tackling demands like increased COVID-19 testing, gathering mass amounts of health data and communicating about stay-at-home orders requires massive coordination. Your campus health center, office of student affairs, health insurance provider and a host of other resources need to sharpen their coordination to take on these responsibilities. Be ready to execute these critical tasks by consolidating efforts and establishing a centralized office to coordinate implementation.

2.    Leverage resources to gather and analyze critical data

To make the best decisions, your campus health team needs the most accurate, up-to-date information. Whether it is understanding the COVID-19 spread on your campus or assessing community mental health, data is key to making your school a healthier place. Leverage your relationship with your campus’s insurance provider and how you can tap into their health data. Consider technology like gamified learning or online health portals to increase your provider’s data and get a pulse on what’s happening on your campus.

3.    Streamline and improve communications

Knowing what you need to do to improve your campus health is one thing – communicating it to your campus community is another. You need to keep students and employees informed of urgent items like where to get COVID-19 tests or vaccinations and when stay-at-home orders start and end, and less urgent but still critical elements like their health insurance options and how to evaluate which is best for them. No matter what it is, you need communication technology that’s readily accessible and simple to use while customizing methods to student versus parent versus employee preferences.

4.    Improve access to care

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how those with health disadvantages became even more vulnerable when crisis hits. The easier it is for your campus population to get the care they need, the better. Access to telehealth to assess COVID-19 symptoms and to provide much-needed mental health care along with easily accessible over-the-counter medication kiosks on campus can make a huge difference in overall health. The more barriers to care you can remove on your campus, the better.

When to Call in the Experts

The HORAN Campus Health Solutions team is poised to keep your campus up to speed on the latest healthcare technology and logistics – our focus is on how to bring the best care to your campus. Thanks to our years of experience in healthcare and connections with leading healthcare insurance, service and technology providers, we can streamline efforts to get your campus community covered.

See how we’ve helped other campuses meet and exceed their goals through expert resource coordination.

Fill out a simple contact form or get in touch with Chris Mihin, HORAN Campus Health Vice President and Managing Principal, at ChrisM@horanassoc.com or 513.702.3707.