In the February issue of the Swinging Bridge, an article was published highlighting select student experiences using the FalconCare telehealth service. In light of the negative experiences that were shared, it is beneficial to further understand Messiah’s choice to offer the service and the role it plays in campus healthcare.

TimelyCare is for College Students

Telehealth services are not exactly new, and multiple companies operate within the market, like Teladoc and MeMD, among others. So, why would Messiah specifically choose to partner with TimelyCare?

According to Betsey Miller, the Medical Director at Messiah, TimelyCare is the only telemedicine service exclusively serving college students.

“The fact that this targeted an age group that had very unique transitional issues in life was most attractive,”Doug Wood, the Associate Dean of Students at Messiah, said. “They came to us with a lot of data about their programming at other campuses. There was a familiarity and a level of trust.”

This is rooted in TimelyCare’s affordable access to 24-hour healthcare and counseling services for students.

“Some students have very complex mental health issues when they come to campus,” Aubrey Kleinfeld, the Director of Counseling Services at Messiah, said. “The wait time is at least six months, six months plus, maybe a year. We can have a student see a psychiatrist within a week.”

The Engle Center and TimelyCare Work Together

The Engle Center and TimelyCare staff often work together to provide students with counseling and medical care. Kleinfeld commented on the working relationship she has with the platform’s mental health workers.

“The psychiatrists have been very collaborative,” Kleinfeld said. “I work with them in terms of recommendations, and then I work with students. That’s been super helpful.”

This kind of relationship extends to medical care as well. Miller often receives notes from TimelyCare staff so she can follow up with students who have used the platform.

“To have the support of additional healthcare supporters behind me is a huge service,” Miller said.

Taking the Good with the Bad

At the end of each visit, TimelyCare users can rate their overall visit and the specific provider they worked with. The numbers seem to reflect positive experiences using the platform.

Between August 2021 and February 2022, the 203 visits that received a general visit rating had an average score of 4.79 out of 5. Meanwhile, the 211 provider ratings reported during the same period averaged 4.89 out of 5.

Still, the intended benefits of TimelyCare can’t always stop students from having negative experiences with the application. Those negative experiences are always considered as Messiah staff work to provide students with accessible healthcare.

Wood, Miller and Kleinfeld typically meet with TimelyCare staff every month to discuss issues and other matters about the platform.

“There were times where students couldn’t log in, or providers weren’t showing, and then miscommunication with providers,” Wood said. “As we’ve identified things, they’ve fixed it, which we’re very grateful for.”

Tips For First-Time Users

To assist new and recurring users of the application, Miller provided some helpful tips for students using TimelyCare.

  • Sign up and put your information in while you’re feeling well. It’s not as easy when you’re sick.
  • Double-check the location on your phone. This may influence your access to certain providers.
  • If you’re given a prescription, ask your doctor where it will be sent.

Any questions pertaining to the Engle Center services or the TimelyCare application can be directed to Doug Wood at dwood@messiah.edu.

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