With students returning to some college campuses in the Fall, American universities are jumping on the telehealth bandwagon, realizing that virtual care is a convenient, cost-effective and accessible way to provide students with access to care as COVID-19 continues. At TytoCare, we teamed up with The University of Miami (UM), whose campus is at the current epicenter of the pandemic, to pilot telehealth as a way to protect students at the University from the virus. I’ve been receiving questions about the partnership – and what this means for the future of not only TytoCare, but telehealth, at universities. See some of our most common questions, answered below:
What spurred UM to look to telehealth as a way to protect students of the University of Miami returning to campus?
The major focus of every university is bringing back students in a safe way, and TytoCare’s remote, high-quality solutions make this possible.
What role does telehealth play on campuses in the age of COVID?
The ability to provide a complete physical exam virtually aligns with social distancing and virtual learning protocols. Virtual care is no longer a “nice to have,” but essential for comprehensive, timely and safe monitoring of students’ health when in-person care is limited.
A major concept of Tytocare and UM’s telehealth program is this idea of “Tele-vigilance”, what does this entail and how does this differ from more traditional telehealth programs?
Many telehealth offerings focus on the treatment of sick patients, but the University of Miami takes a different approach of tele-vigilance with TytoCare. We focus on proactively monitoring patients’ vitals when they are well, to ensure they don’t get sick in the first place. Dr. Roy E. Weiss, the chair of Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine said it best in a recent press release:
“Universities across the nation are focused on the three Ts—testing, tracking, and tracing—which we all must do to safely return students to our campuses,” Weiss said. “But we’re adding what I call the fourth T—tele-vigilance, which will allow us to make sure our student body is healthy and stays healthy.”
What makes the TytoCare device uniquely adapted to help students as they return to campus?
TytoCare allows for almost instant access to a doctor who can examine and monitor students’ vitals, especially those related to COVID, closely, but virtually and from afar. The high quality of TytoCare’s technology allows providers to remotely examine a patient’s throat, inspect their eardrums, listen to their lungs and heart, take their temperature, and measure the oxygen levels in their blood at the first sign of symptoms — or even before any symptoms are present.
Looking forward, how do you see telehealth solutions as instrumental to the COVID-19 response for college students?
It is essential to use TytoCare, and all telehealth solutions, to protect the health and wellness of not only students, but faculty and staff who may be even more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Beyond the pandemic, I’m looking forward to seeing how telemedicine will change university health systems for good. During COVID-19, telemedicine has proved to be an easy, convenient and effective method of care that’s becoming a movement; we can only assume it’s here to stay. As we integrate TytoCare into more universities – amid COVID and beyond – we’re kickstarting the future of campus healthcare models and I’m excited to see where this future will lead.
Vice President, Enterprise Solutions
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