Author: Karen Mueller, CBC, Executive Vice President & Partner, HORAN
Healthcare is confusing. Add on individuals navigating the system for the first time - and a new layer of systems and processes - and you have the increasingly complex world of university healthcare.
It doesn’t have to be this way. And, with up to 20% of individuals 15-20 in the U.S. living with chronic health conditions, it can’t be this way. Students need help navigating this health system – almost 75% of them are shopping for health insurance for the first time – and it starts by making it streamlined and centralized.
The Benefits of Centralizing Your University Health System
Imagine having one place to go to set health appointments, fill prescriptions, and manage insurance claims. Sounds like a dream, right? With a centralized university health service, it can be a reality. Managing all these elements can be challenging for students away from home and taking care of these essential health tasks for the first time.
Centralizing your health services can make it easier for students to understand their options regarding insurance coverage and how to access care. When students can choose the best plan and care options, they not only improve their health, they better manage their finances. With 70% of students reporting stress about their financial situation, it’s important to remove additional financial stress around healthcare.
Improving healthcare access and knowledge is imperative for those students with chronic health conditions. With the best, most affordable coverage, they can focus on their classwork and other elements of campus life instead of worrying about how to get and pay for the care they need.
The Building Blocks of Health Service Centralization
Synchronizing and centralizing services can be a challenge in the campus environment. Even for something as targeted as graduate student marketing, 46% of private institutions say the “responsibilities are shared between a central office and individual schools and departments.” Suffice to say, coordinating your health systems won’t happen overnight. However, you can ease burdens by focusing on these essential building blocks:
- A student-friendly portal, created with student input
- Data sharing among departments and partners
- Coordinated communication to students and employees alike
- On-campus champions within each department
- A knowledgeable consultant or broker
With these elements, you can start on solid footing. Once you have the people, data, and processes in place, it’s all about coordination moving forward.
The Common Sticking Points to Prepare For
As with any worthwhile change, you’ll face some common obstacles in centralizing your campus health systems. Watch out for common sticking points by:
- Considering all relevant stakeholders, including student groups
- Factoring in the importance of mental and emotional healthcare
- Challenging “the way it’s always been done” by implementing fresh perspectives
- Keeping the entire campus community in mind, avoiding focus on departmental specifics
These last two areas can be challenging to overcome. Change is intimidating, and you may find individuals or groups resistant to adjusting their processes and asking, “What’s in it for us?” Emphasize the benefit to the broader campus community and how a healthier, less stressed student and employee population brings overall success to everyone.
The Right Partner to Navigate Your Journey
Centralizing your university healthcare is a worthwhile journey, and you need the right partner to guide you towards success. The team at HORAN Campus Health works with campuses across the country to bring the best health tools, systems, and services to their students and employees.
We evaluate your current health services and make recommendations to ensure they meet your community’s needs. Along the way, we bring stakeholders together, gather and analyze valuable data, and bring vetted solutions to integrate your campus healthcare in one place.
Invest in the long-term benefits of centralizing your university health systems: get in touch with us to bring the best care to your campus without stretching your budget too thin. Fill out a simple contact form or contact Chris Mihin, HORAN Campus Health Vice President and Managing Principal, at ChrisM@horanassoc.com or 513.702.3707.
3. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. (2021). Surveying college students about what they want from their student health plan [Whitepaper].