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Tag: Clinic Management

Improving Health Communication in Higher Education

(Best Practices and What to Avoid)

We all know what happens when communication breaks down – chaos erupts! Effective health communication is vital for promoting wellness and managing health concerns on college campuses. Understanding and applying best practices in health communication can significantly enhance health services utilization and the overall well-being of the student population.

Let’s dive into the essential elements of effective health communication, the application of health literacy models and plain language guidelines and identify common errors and opportunities for improvement.

Best Practices in Health Communication

1. Know Your Audience

Understanding the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and needs of your student population is crucial. Tailor your messages to address the specific concerns and preferences of different student groups, such as international students, students with disabilities, or those from various cultural backgrounds.

2. Utilize Multiple Channels

Students access information through various channels, including social media, email, campus websites, and physical materials (flyers, bulletin boards, etc.). Ensure your health messages are distributed through multiple platforms to maximize engagement. Use engaging visuals and multimedia content to capture attention and make information more accessible.

Learn more about promoting campus resources through social media here.

3. Be Clear & Concise

Clarity and brevity are essential in health communication. Avoid medical jargon and complex language that may confuse or overwhelm students. Use plain language guidelines to ensure your messages are easily understood. For example, instead of saying “administer medication,” use “take medicine.”

4. Foster Foster Two-Way Communication

Encourage feedback and dialogue with students. Create opportunities for students to ask questions, share concerns, and provide input on health initiatives. This can be done through online forums, in-person events, anonymous surveys, or suggestion boxes. Two-way communication builds trust and ensures that your messages are relevant and effective.

Applying Health Literacy Models and Plain Language Guidelines

Health Literacy Models

Health literacy involves the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information to make informed health decisions. Applying health literacy models can enhance the effectiveness of your communication efforts.

The Health Belief Model (HBM): The HBM can help predict and explain health behaviors by focusing on individuals’ beliefs about health conditions, perceived benefits of action, and barriers to action. Use this model to design messages that address perceived risks and emphasize the benefits of adopting healthy behaviors.

For example, to encourage students to get flu vaccinations, you might highlight the perceived severity of the flu by sharing stories of severe cases and the high risk of contagion in a campus environment.

Simultaneously, emphasize the benefits of vaccination, such as increased immunity, reduced absenteeism, and protection for vulnerable peers and campus staff. Address barriers by providing information on convenient campus vaccination clinics, reducing cost concerns, and dispelling myths about vaccine safety.

The Socio-Ecological Model (SEM): The SEM considers the complex interplay between individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and societal factors. Use this model to develop multi-level interventions that address various determinants of health and create supportive environments for behavior change.

For example, to encourage college students to take care of their mental health, you could implement individual-level strategies like providing access to online self-help resources and counseling services. At the interpersonal level, facilitate peer support groups and mental health awareness training for student leaders.

Moreover, advocate for policies that reduce academic stress, such as flexible deadlines and mental health days. Community-level interventions might include partnerships with local mental health organizations to provide workshops and resources. Lastly, at the societal level, engage in advocacy efforts to reduce stigma around mental health and promote broader cultural acceptance of seeking help.

Plain Language Guidelines

Plain language guidelines emphasize clear and straightforward communication. Here are some key principles:

  • Use simple words and sentences: Replace complex terms with simpler alternatives. For example, use “high blood pressure” instead of “hypertension.”
  • Be direct: State your main message at the beginning and keep sentences short.
  • Use active voice: Active voice is more engaging and easier to understand. For example, “Wash your hands” is better than “Hands should be washed.”
  • Organize information logically: Use headings, bullet points, and numbered lists to break down information and make it easier to scan.

Common Errors and Opportunities for Improvement

Error 1: Overloading Information

Providing too much information at once can overwhelm students and reduce the likelihood of them retaining key messages. Focus on delivering essential information in manageable chunks.

Opportunity: Prioritize and segment information visually. Use infographics and summaries to highlight key points.

Error 2: Ignoring Cultural Sensitivity

Health messages that do not consider cultural differences may be ineffective or even offensive to some students.

Opportunity: Engage with diverse student groups to understand their perspectives and tailor messages accordingly. Use culturally relevant examples, images, and language.

Error 3: Lack of Visual Appeal

Plain text messages may be ignored or overlooked, especially in today’s visually-driven digital landscape.

Opportunity: Incorporate visuals, such as images, videos, and infographics, to make messages more engaging and easier to understand.

Error 4: Inadequate Follow-Up

Sending out a health message without follow-up can lead to low engagement and missed opportunities for behavior change.

Opportunity: Use automated reminders and follow-up communications to reinforce messages. Provide support to encourage sustained behavior change.

Key Takeaways

Effective health communication on college campuses requires a strategic approach that considers the diverse needs of the student population. By applying health literacy models, adhering to plain language guidelines, and addressing common pitfalls, colleges of all sizes can enhance their communication efforts and promote a healthier campus environment.

Take health promotion a step further on your campus with Strategies to Boost Immunization Rates.

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8 Tips to Empower Non-Traditional College Students

When people think of college, they often picture students in the traditional 18-22 age range. However, a significant and growing portion of the student population is comprised of non-traditional students. Non-traditional students can include those returning from military service, part-time students, parents, or those simply seeking a degree later in life. These students bring diverse experiences and face unique challenges that require tailored support to ensure their success and well-being.

In this blog, we explore eight tips designed to enhance the experience of non-traditional students on your campus and ultimately, improve retention.

1. Promote Regular Health Screenings

Encourage regular health screenings for non-traditional students. Given their often busy schedules outside of school, providing these services on campus offers significant convenience and ensures they have easy access to essential health care.

These screenings can help detect potential health issues early, allowing for timely intervention. If your campus doesn’t offer them, partner with local healthcare providers to offer on-campus screening events for blood pressure, cholesterol, vision, and hearing, etc.

2. Create a Supportive Environment

Ensure that the campus environment is accessible and inclusive for all students. This can include:

  • Installing ramps and elevators for easy mobility
  • Offering plenty of seating areas throughout campus
  • Ensuring accessible restrooms and gender-neutral bathrooms
  • Offering assistive listening devices and captioning services in lecture halls and event spaces
  • Creating family-friendly spaces and childcare facilities for students with dependents
  • Offering flexible class schedules and online learning options for part-time students
  • Providing military-specific support services and spaces, such as lounges or resource centers

Learn more about creating an inclusive college campus here.

3. Encourage Physical Activity

Physical activity is vital for maintaining health at any age or stage of life. To accommodate the diverse needs of non-traditional college students, consider organizing a variety of inclusive and accessible exercise options such as:

  • Low-impact exercise classes, like yoga, tai chi, & walking groups
  • Schedule classes at various times to accommodate students with other obligations such as full-time jobs or dependents
  • Ensure fitness facilities are accessible and offer adaptive equipment for students with disabilities
  • Create a welcoming gym environment with clear signage, approachable staff, and supportive policies for students who may feel intimidated or out of place
  • Offer virtual fitness classes and resources for students who may prefer or need to exercise at home

By implementing these strategies, you can foster a welcoming and supportive fitness environment that encourages all non-traditional students to stay active.

4. Foster Mental Health and Well-Being

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Ensure that your campus offers  counseling services tailored to the needs of ALL students. For instance, create support groups for parents enrolled at your school where students can share their experiences and connect with peers. Additionally, provides resources for stress management and mindfulness practices.

Need help connecting students to resources available on your campus? Download our guide: 22 Innovative Ways to Promote Campus Resources.

5. Nutritional Support and Education

Nutrition plays a key role in a healthy life for all college students. Offering educational workshops on balanced diets and nutritional needs tailored to student’s diverse needs can be highly valuable.

For example, host a “Healthy Cooking on a Budget” workshop for students with families or a “Quick and Nutritious Meals” session for part-time students with busy schedules. By addressing the unique nutritional requirements of these students, you can support their overall well-being and academic success.

6. Professional Development and Lifelong Learning

Encourage all non-traditional students to engage in lifelong learning and professional development. Offer workshops, seminars, and courses that cater to their diverse interests and career goals (and ensure evening or weekend sessions are available to accommodate working students and those with family responsibilities).

Colleges can also create opportunities for mentorship programs where experienced students, such as veterans or older adults, can share their knowledge and experience with younger peers. Additionally, virtual career fairs and networking events can connect non-traditional students with potential employers and widen their professional networks.

7. Promote Social Connections

Evidence shows that social isolation and loneliness can significantly harm health, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, anxiety depression, and more. Social connections are vital for emotional well-being.

To support this, colleges can host social events and activities, encouraging interaction among all non-traditional students. This can be achieved by creating family-friendly events like campus picnics or movie nights to accommodate students with children.

Additionally, support groups or social clubs specifically for veterans or working students can be invaluable in fostering a sense of community and providing peer support. Events like book clubs, cultural outings, and volunteer opportunities can help build a supportive network and foster a sense of belonging among non-traditional students.

8. Utilize Technology for Health Monitoring

Technology can elevate the support and well-being of all non-traditional college students. Colleges can provide regular informational and training sessions to help students become comfortable using health technologies, catering to different technological literacy, schedules, and availability.

Make sure health tech tools are accessible for all students, offering adaptive features and support as needed. Additionally, promotes virtual health consultations and telehealth options for students who may have limited access to on-campus health services.

Key Takeaways

Supporting the health and well-being of non-traditional students can enrich your campus community. By implementing these tips and utilizing available resources, we can help to create an inclusive, supportive environment that promotes a positive college experience for all.

Discover effective strategies for linking students to essential resources by checking out a recording of one of our recent webinars, Connecting Students to Key Resources: What, Where, and How.

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Best Approaches to College Health Billing

UTEP’s Clinical Finance Journey

In our exclusive interview with David Porras Jr., Assistant Director of Business and Clinical Operations at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), we delve into the transformation of their Student Health & Wellness Center. Learn about their journey with Medicat, the challenges they faced, and the remarkable improvements in service delivery and clinical efficiency.

David Porras, Jr.
Assistant Director of Business and Clinical Operations

Q: Can you give a brief description of UTEP and your Student Health & Wellness Center?

A: I’d describe UTEP as having a diverse student body, mainly comprised of commuting and international students. Our Counseling and Psychological Services is a completely separate service. We send plenty of referrals to Counseling and Psychological Services, but then the prescriptions for depression and anxiety get sent back over to us in Student Health. We see a variety of insured and uninsured (self-pay) students. Plus, we comply with the requirements for academic programs like nursing and pharmacy.

Q: When did you first start using Medicat?

A: We started using Medicat 13 years ago. I implemented the software about 1-2 years into my position, transitioning from a paper-based system for charting and billing to going fully electronic within six months for all of our college health billing.

Q: What challenges necessitated transitioning to using an EHR product?

A: Billing was not administered by practice management personnel specialized in business operations. There were no fee schedules, and since we had outsourced to a billing company, they took a significant cut of the payments. Eventually, an internal audit revealed 22 critical issues that we needed to address. We discovered that Medicat offered practice management features, electronic claims processing, and an intuitive interface, addressing these challenges.

Q: What made Medicat’s EHR & billing and insurance solutions work for your clinic?

A: Choosing an EHR that had practice management features and front-office capabilities was our main goal. The other features Medicat offered were just the cherry on top. Practice management features such as electronic claims processing, ease of use of issuing credits and refunds, and appointment scheduling were some of the most helpful features to our clinic at the time. We integrated Medicat with Waystar, which vastly reduced processing time for all of our payments.

Q: How did you go about introducing our solution to your team? Was there pushback? A sigh of relief? Celebration?

A: Some of our staff were initially hesitant to switch to an electronic system. Our on-site training sessions with Medicat staff helped overcome resistance. Once trained, they found the system to be more intuitive and user-friendly than our previous paper-based system.

Q: Has working with students improved since implementing Medicat?

A: Absolutely! Students appreciate the ease of filling out consent forms and gaining a better understanding of insurance claims and billing, as these services are no longer outsourced. I really enjoy educating students on insurance and working with them to ensure they can afford the care they need.

Q: What have you been most impressed with during your Medicat experience?

A: The collaborative approach to quickly resolving issues and implementing new features that enhance both the staff and student experiences.

Key Takeaways

By addressing the University of Texas at El Paso’s unique challenges and streamlining its operations, Medicat has played a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency and improving the overall student experience. We take pride in our commitment to helping college health centers run more efficiently, offering not just an EHR solution, but a partnership dedicated to the success of student health services. UTEP’s journey is a testament to our shared mission of making a positive impact on the healthcare landscape of college campuses.

Continue On to Read the Full Case Study

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Protecting Student Health Data

Protecting Student Health Data:

A Deep Dive into SOC 2 Compliance

Infographic sectoral privacy laws in US
Source: Caitriona Fitzgerald, Deputy Director and Suzy Bernstein, Law Fellow, “Full of Holes: Federal Law Leaves Americans’ Personal Data Exposed” | April 27, 2023

Data privacy is a critical concern in today’s digital age, especially when it comes to sensitive information like electronic health records (EHR) in college settings. SOC 2, which stands for Service Organization Control 2, is a set of protocols and controls developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It’s specifically designed to assess and audit the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of data handled by service organizations, including EHR software providers.

With the increasing reliance on technology in healthcare, it’s crucial for colleges to understand the basics of data privacy in college EHR systems, the benefits of SOC 2 compliance, and how to establish robust data privacy protocols.

A+ for Security: How SOC 2 Compliance Safeguards College EHRs

Achieving SOC 2 compliance is crucial for companies like Medicat that handle sensitive student data. A breach or unauthorized access to patient information can have severe consequences, including identity theft, medical fraud, and compromised patient care. By complying with SOC 2 protocols, colleges can demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding patient data and ensure that the highest standards of security and privacy are maintained.

Furthermore, SOC 2 compliance is often a requirement for colleges that provide healthcare-related programs or research. Many regulatory bodies, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), require institutions to implement adequate security measures to protect patient data. SOC 2 compliance serves as a validation that the college’s EHR systems meet these stringent requirements.

The Differences Between SOC 1 and SOC 2, Plus Type I and Type II Reports

SOC 1 and SOC 2 are distinct report types within the Service Organization Control (SOC) framework, which is designed to evaluate and disclose controls and security practices. SOC 1 compliance focuses on controls pertinent to financial reporting, primarily relevant for service providers affecting their client’s financial statements, such as payroll processors or financial institutions.

Conversely, SOC 2 compliance addresses controls encompassing security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. SOC 2 applies to service organizations like colleges and health centers that manage sensitive data, without a direct impact on financial reporting. In essence, SOC 2 compliance provides assurance that the organization has implemented protective measures to safeguard sensitive information and maintain the reliability of its systems.

Within the SOC 2 umbrella, there are two types of reports: Type I and Type II. Type I acts as an assessment of an organization’s compliance posture at a single point in time.

In addition, SOC 2 Type II (the certification held by Medicat) is a continuous assessment of an organization’s security controls, processes, and practices. Instead of just capturing compliance at one particular moment in time, a Type II Report evaluates security protocols over a multi-month period to ensure ongoing compliance.

SOC 2 Type 2

Benefits of SOC 2 Compliance for College EHRs

SOC 2 compliance is a widely recognized framework for assessing the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of an organization’s systems. When colleges comply with SOC 2 standards, they demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding personal health information (PHI). Achieving SOC 2 compliance offers numerous benefits beyond meeting regulatory requirements. Some of the key benefits include:

SOC2 Compliance

  • Enhanced Data Security: SOC 2 compliance ensures that robust protocols and controls are in place to protect patient data from unauthorized access, breaches, and data loss. This enhances the overall security posture of the college’s EHR systems and safeguards sensitive information.
  • Improved Reputation and Trust: SOC 2 compliance serves as a validation of the college’s commitment to data security and privacy. It helps build trust among stakeholders, including patients, healthcare providers, regulatory bodies, and funding organizations.
  • Competitive Advantage: SOC 2 compliance can give colleges a competitive edge when competing for healthcare-related programs, research grants, and partnerships. It demonstrates the college’s ability to handle sensitive data securely and responsibly.
  • Reduced Legal and Financial Risks: Non-compliance with data security regulations can result in significant legal and financial consequences, including fines, penalties, and lawsuits. Achieving SOC 2 compliance mitigates these risks and helps protect the college from potential liabilities.
  • Streamlined Operations: SOC 2 compliance requires colleges to implement robust processes and controls, which can lead to improved operational efficiency. This includes standardized workflows, enhanced data management practices, and streamlined incident response procedures.

Compliance with SOC 2 standards also helps colleges identify and address any weaknesses in their data privacy protocols. Through the audit process, colleges gain insights and recommendations for improving their EHR systems’ security and privacy measures.

In an increasingly digital world, students and their families are becoming more conscious of data privacy. By demonstrating SOC 2 compliance, colleges can earn the trust of those who value their privacy and security.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ensuring the confidentiality of student health information is paramount within college EHR systems. To safeguard students’ data effectively, achieving SOC 2 compliance is essential.
  2. By prioritizing data privacy and following best practices, colleges can ensure the security and confidentiality of student health records, instilling trust among stakeholders and maintaining compliance with regulations.

Learn more about Medicat’s own secure hosting protocols and SOC 2, Type II Compliance.

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Benefits of Patient Portals

Your Ultimate Guide to Unlocking the Benefits of Patient Portals

Interview with Bethany Baughman, RN BSN CPN, and at Medicat.

Is your school considering switching to an EHR and wanting to learn more about how the Patient Portal would work? Or are you a current client looking for some more tips and tricks on best utilizing the Patient Portal? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

One of our amazing Customer Onboarding Specialist Bethany Baughman, has helped over 70 schools implement the Patient Portal. She’s even implemented Medicat from the college perspective, during her tenure as a nurse at the University of Tulsa’s Health Center. Continue reading to become a Patient Portal expert!

1. In simple terms, how would you describe the Patient Portal?

The Patient Portal is an online tool that allows students to log in and:

  • Securely communicate with their provider(s)
  • Enter immunization records and view their compliance status
  • Schedule appointments across multiple clinics
  • Upload documentation to their record
  • Complete any required forms

2. Does the Patient Portal integrate with most Student Information Systems?

Yes, the portal does integrate with most SIS systems. This is especially helpful when it comes to billing student accounts. Plus, we’re able to create student profiles in the Patient Portal based on information imported from the SIS (Demographic Feed). We work with the school to set this up as soon as the onboarding process begins.

3. What features of the portal do you think are most helpful?

  • Self-scheduling based on clinic parameters:I think this is an underutilized functionality because the clinics we work with are not used to exposing their calendars to their campus population.  However, there are a lot of opportunities to put controls in place so that self-scheduling works for your particular clinic and/or campus. College students are already using apps and websites to schedule appointments these days, so they really do enjoy having the option to schedule an appointment online. 
  • Utilizing secure messaging:I love that Medicat keeps a record of the provider-student interaction in the chart. It saves the step of copying and pasting emails into a patient record. Plus, it keeps communications private, since email is not a secure or HIPAA-compliant mode of communication.
  • Simplified prescription refills: Prescription refill forms can be completed on the portal and sent directly to providers for review. I love this feature, not just for prescription refills, but also for Request for Services for Access/Disability Services Clinics and This really can remove barriers to services. 
  • Sending educational resources to students post-visit: I used this feature a lot in my clinic when I was working as a nurse. I created educational handouts for all sorts of things, then added them to a note so they’re available for the student to view on the portal at any time. Rather than giving students paper handouts that get left on the counter in an exam room, or shoved at the bottom of their backpacks, students can simply use their phones to access relevant educational resources on the portal.

4. Do you have specific tips for helping a Student Health Clinic maximize the power of the Patient Portal?

Of course! One of my favorite tips is using the portal to collect subjective data related to the patient’s issue prior to the appointment with appointment-specific forms. This better prepares providers for the appointment and helps save time!

5. Any specific tips for Counseling Centers?

Be open-minded about the features that are available. You can start small and add on to the features you utilize as you become more comfortable with the system and its options.

6. What about tips for Immunization Compliance?

I’ve had clients make videos to walk students through the process of submitting their Immunization Records. This can help reduce the amount of cleanup that needs to be done for student records with duplicate entries, etc. Check out this awesome tutorial a student from Eastern University created to show other students how to use their school’s Patient Portal.

Bethany’s Advice for ALL Clinics: The more you reference the portal and send students to the portal, the more they will utilize it! It can be as simple as being firm on not accepting any documents or appointments that are not submitted via the portal.

7. What efficiency or productivity gains have you seen from a clinic implementing the Patient Portal?

So much time is saved by allowing your students to self-schedule appointments, submit their immunization records, and upload supporting documentation via the portal. This allows clinic staff to spend more time listening to a student’s concerns, planning outreach events, and analyzing clinic-wide reports. In other words, your clinic will have the space and time to grow, rather than just trying to make it through each day on schedule.

8. Is there a feature you feel is underused that more clients would benefit from?

  1. Self-Scheduling: There are so many controls around self-scheduling, but many people don’t want to feel like they’re “losing control” of their schedules. I think that the campus populations are pretty tech-savvy and can navigate more than we think.
  2. Subjective data collection prior to the appointment: This is a powerful way to gather information ahead of the appointment so that providers are better prepared for the appointment. Plus, the clinic tends to run more efficiently.

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, the Patient Portal stands at the forefront of healthcare’s digital revolution, offering a myriad of benefits for both students and providers. The portal has transformed the way patients access and interact with medical information, fostering greater transparency, convenience, and engagement. From secure messaging, self-scheduling, and simplified prescription refills, the Patient Portal can make a significant impact on your clinic’s workflow.

Interested in helping your clinic save time on tedious tasks? Connect with our team today to learn more.

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3 Ways Smart Data Management Can Support Your Clinic

This piece was contributed by Mary Kuchenbrod, VP of Data Operations at Arcadia, an analytics platform for data-driven healthcare organizations. To learn how you can deliver faster decisions and better results using advanced healthcare analytics, visit Arcadia’s website.

Healthcare Analytics

Across the healthcare spectrum, clinics are having to adapt their traditional IT processes to handle increasing volumes of patient data, and with more challenging demands for breadth and depth. Without the right tools, they risk not being able to derive meaningful insights from clinical data which could result in making uninformed decisions.

That’s why advanced approaches and tools are necessary for streamlined data collection, storage, sharing, and analysis. When data management is done effectively, downstream analytic outputs help providers make the right decisions at the right time without any additional costs. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss how data management tools are solving healthcare’s greatest data difficulties, including:

  • Data Storage
  • Data Interoperability
  • Data Safety 

The way that healthcare organizations store, share, and analyze data today has future consequences. For a healthier tomorrow, clinics should embrace the power of analytics and let it transform their processes. Let’s explore how they can do that in the next sections.

Data Storage

With a single patient generating nearly 80 megabytes of data each year in imaging and EMR data alone, healthcare data volumes are only expected to expand. Therefore, organizations need a reliable IT storage solution that can keep their patient data accessible without risking privacy concerns. 

The optimal storage solution should allow for:

  • Data organization: File management can be a pain for clinics. Your online storage solution should be able to eliminate chart chasing and give you access to the patient data you need when you need it.
  • Scalable growth: As your clinic grows, your data volume will inevitably increase. The amount of patient information and medical records will continue to balloon, so you’ll need to choose a solution that can handle new data input without causing growing pains.
  • Reliable security. Ensuring the privacy and security of patient data and mitigating risk must be considered. Encryption, access protections, and row-level permission settings are critical to ensure your patient data is kept safe. 

To find the right data storage solution, many clinics turn to high-level analytics vendors that can provide what is known as a data warehouse. This organized repository stores all usable healthcare information retrieved from EHRs, insurance claims, HIEs, lab databases, and other critical data sources.

Data Sharing

Data storage isn’t the only problem clinics need to tackle. With siloed systems and multiple sources of truth, another common issue is data fragmentation or the occurrence of division within your documentation. 

At best, these divisions cause clinics to spend too much time interpreting data from scattered IT systems. At worst, they can cause poor clinical decisions. However, the right tools for data sharing can help your team avoid potential problems by increasing: 

  • Employee efficiency. Tools like EHR integration keep data readily accessible. This enables employees to make the best use of their time and avoid provider burnout caused by hefty task loads.
  • Care collaboration. Integrated EHR systems provide a platform for clinicians to seamlessly share and problem-solve through organized, transferable insights.
  • Patient engagement and retention. Cleaner file management can lead to an increase in patient retention and engagement as additional patient nuances are taken into account. 

When leveraged properly, analytics tools can lead clinicians away from reactive medical treatments and toward preventive medicine. This means clinicians are no longer adjusting their treatment plans based on a limited pool of immediately available data. Instead, they are using aggregated EHR data from multiple sources at the point of care.

Data Safety

Data safety is the final hurdle healthcare organizations must jump through. Once a scalable data storage solution is established and data sharing is made more accessible, robust measures are needed to ensure that data quality remains high over time, so that clinicians can feel confident in their patient data. 

Managing data quality over time can be a risky endeavor, with the unexpected happening constantly. Just like driving a car, each one of us tries to drive as safely as possible, but other drivers on the road or even the weather could mean you end up in an accident. Data management needs to be approached with the same safety precautions to minimize harm in the event of a data crash. 

That’s where data seatbelts come in. A strong portfolio of safety checks should include: 

  • Continuous monitoring. Your healthcare data is changing all the time. For each data batch, ask, “Did I get the data I expected? Was it in the right format? Did the information it contained align with previous batches?” For EHR data, this could look like measuring the volume over time of key clinical concepts.
  • Disaster recovery and backups. Preventing a data crash requires reliable backup options. Make sure your team has a comprehensive data safety plan complete with redundant storage options for data restoration.
  • Root cause analysis. If the data suggests any inconsistencies or promotes unexpected actions, conduct an analysis to make sure the data is standardized to reveal any underlying issues. Address these issues quickly to maintain data integrity.

A substantial benefit of good data management is that it builds trust in your organization’s data recovery processes. The best ongoing practices assume that something will go wrong, flag it when it does, and isolate that data from moving downstream and negatively impacting your operations.

Increasing data volumes demand improvements in existing healthcare IT systems. The adoption of strong data management tools and techniques can help healthcare organizations set the pace for improved capabilities. Additionally, smart data management can help your team improve its efficiency and increase capacity without increasing risk.

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Your Top Counseling EHR Questions Answered

How is patient privacy ensured? How does Medicat differ from its competitors? What about integrations with your health clinic?

These are all questions we’re happy to answer for you! We understand that switching to a new EHR is not easy, so we want to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed and confident decision. Continue reading to view answers to our most common questions regarding Medicat’s Counseling EHR Solution.

  • 1. How quickly can we implement Medicat’s counseling solution?

    Implementation can take as little as one month. Medicat provides implementation “boot camps” to rapidly configure the solution to your needs and train your team. Timelines can vary depending on your organization’s unique requirements (e.g., historical record import, 3rd party system interfaces, etc.).

  • 2. How much does the Medicat Counseling solution cost?

    Price depends on several factors including the number of people in your clinic and your workflow. Please contact our team to learn more.

  • 3. Is Medicat’s counseling solution cloud-based?

    Yes. Medicat’s counseling solution is easily accessed via any web browser (e.g., Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, etc.). The benefits of being cloud-based and web-based include better data protection, increased flexibility and scalability, and greater integration abilities.

  • 4. How is Medicat’s counseling solution different than Titanium?

    There are many differences between Medicat and Titanium. Most notably, Medicat’s Counseling solution is entirely web-based and hosted on servers that Medicat maintains with 99.99% uptime.

    Titanium, on the other hand, is installed locally at your institution (i.e., it is “on-premise” software), requiring your IT team to provision infrastructure to support the tool and any required integrations.

    For a more comprehensive comparison between Medicat and Titanium, please contact our team.

  • 5. Does Medicat support Single Sign-On (SSO)?

    Medicat supports the SAML protocol, which enables a number of SSO solutions such as Azure and Shibboleth.

  • 6. Does Medicat support integrated clinics?

    Medicat provides software tailored to the unique requirements of both health and counseling clinics AND enables integrated clinics to share patient information where appropriate.  The platform’s robust permission features ensure that every system user only has access to the data you want them to have access to.

    Alternatively, if your college prefers to run the health and counseling clinics separately, all patient records can be kept separate.

  • 7. Can I use Medicat to manage my counseling trainees?

    Yes, The Medicat counseling solution has a dedicated supervision module to make trainee management apinless.

    Many clinics employ interns that require training, documentation management, hours tracking, note review and feedback, etc. The Medicat Counseling Supervision Module minimizes the burden of managing counseling trainees with smart, purpose-built features that fit seamlessly with the rest of your clinic’s workflow.

  • 8. How does Medicat ensure client data is secure?

    Medicat’s systems and processes are designed to be consistent with HIPAA guidelines as well as the Service Organization Control Type 2 (SOC 2) framework, a cybersecurity compliance framework developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

    In addition to managing system performance and security day to day, Medicat performs SOC 2 audits on an annual basis. Learn more about Medicat’s industry-leading security. 

  • 9. My counseling center is a member of CCMH – does Medicat contribute to and pull data from the Standardized Data Set (SDS)?

    Absolutely! Medicat is an “Authorized CCAPS Distributor,” so our EHR will be able to help with streamlining data collection.

Wondering how you can take your counseling center to the next level? Medicat’s Counseling solution is the future of mental health clinic management. When creating our product, we collaborated with mental health leaders from dozens of universities to ensure our solution would meet our customers’ needs.

Picture this: a paper-free counseling center with an exceptional student experience, robust documentation options, effortless practice management, and an efficient way to supervise trainees. This can all be possible with Medicat’s Counseling EHR.

Have other questions that weren’t answered here? Reach out to our team today!

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Unlocking the Power of EHRs: Enhancing Student Education and Empowerment

Powerful EHR at your fingertips

Electronic health records (EHRs) are essential for keeping health and counseling clinics organized and for promoting efficiency among providers and staff members. Patient Portals in particular are a key tool to help enhance the student experience. At first thought, many may think that EHRs solely enhance clinical workflow and efficiency, but an exceptional EHR system can benefit both providers and their patients.

The EHR you choose plays an important role in patients’ overall experience and satisfaction when visiting a healthcare clinic or counseling center. even states that “patients are more likely to play a better role in managing their health when they are better educated, have access to important resources, and are given a convenient way to book appointments and see their doctor.” This emphasizes the impact that EHRs can make in enhancing patient care and promoting patient education.


EHRs can help promote patient education by giving patients the freedom to easily access their health information and any associated educational resources online. When patients have virtual access to this information, it’s much more convenient for them to engage with their health anytime, anywhere.  Of course, information is given to patients during their appointment verbally, but many times, patients may not remember everything that was said to them during the appointment, or they may want to share the information with others. This allows patients to thoroughly review the information, and make sure they didn’t miss anything during the appointment. The goal here is to ensure that students feel empowered to engage in their own health, which can help reduce anxiety levels, increase adherence to medication, improve relationships with providers, and improve health outcomes.

Secure Messaging

Using your EHR system, you likely have the option to securely message students to further boost patient education. With secure messaging, patients and providers are able to communicate with each other in a safe, confidential manner. According to, The HIPAA Journal, secure messaging has been shown to “accelerate clinical workflows and help accelerate patient throughput, reduce the potential for medical errors, increase patient satisfaction, improve clinical outcomes, and significantly reduce costs while ensuring compliance with HIPAA.”

Rather than playing phone tag or having to wait until their next appointment, with secure messaging, patients can communicate with the clinic staff and ask questions as they arise. This significantly increases patient satisfaction, as patients get their questions answered much more quickly and responses are tailored to them and their health history, as opposed to doing a quick online search to find an answer. Patients may even feel more comfortable disclosing information via a secure messaging portal rather than face-to-face with their provider, resulting in more thorough patient care. Patients may also choose to provide health information to their providers through secure messaging. For example, students may be able to take their own blood pressure or glucose level readings, so that their provider can easily provide additional care.

Digital Documents and Resources

Providers are also able to attach or upload digital documents into their EHR system for patients to view. Following an appointment, providers can attach any relevant educational documents and discharge paperwork. This will help give patients more detailed information on what was discussed during the appointment and gives patients the autonomy to do their own further research. Digital paperwork can also result in a less cluttered workspace and reduces the amount of time staff has to spend on printing, organizing, and filling out paperwork.

Optimizing Outreach Events

Along with informational resources and medical documents, clinic staff may also want to promote upcoming events. For instance, student health centers may want to promote their upcoming flu clinic, and counseling centers may want to notify students of a meditation workshop during finals week. This helps students take advantage of the programming clinics work so hard to organize.  The options for boosting patient education with an EHR system are endless.

Key Takeaways

EHRs do more than just help with clinic productivity and efficiency, they also help promote patient education. An effective EHR system allows patients to easily access their health records, communicate with clinic staff, receive valuable resources, and attend helpful events. Rather than having to worry about patients forgetting what was stated during an appointment, EHRs can do all the work for clinic staff while also giving patients the tools they need to further their knowledge to reach their health and wellness goals.

Curious about the impact an EHR can have on your campus? Check out how Abilene Christian University improved the student experience using automated messages, simple check-in forms, and text reminders.

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EHR Implementation Q&A

Switching to a new EHR system may seem daunting. At Medicat, we strive to make the process as smooth as possible. One of the ways we do this is with our thorough implementation process. This blog contains information that will help give you better insight into our implementation process, and how you can prepare for a successful launch with Medicat.

Our Implementation Team will walk you through setting up your software and demonstrate how to use it. The following questions are answered by one of our Customer Onboarding Specialists, Katie Gray, who provides specific information on how the implementation process works while offering recommendations and strategies to maximize the benefits of implementation.

  • Q1. Why is implementation so important?

    We want to provide our clients with the best outcome during their transition to Medicat. Because we’re able to tailor the software to our clients’ needs, our Implementation Specialists collaborate very closely with our clients to personalize the implementation process to meet shared goals and timelines. We aim to demonstrate how to use the many tools available through our software so that our clients feel empowered to use the platform once they’ve officially “gone live.”

  • Q2. What does the implementation process generally look like?

    Each implementation is tailored to the unique needs of the clients we’re working with. However, here’s a taste of what the implementation process generally looks like:

    1. After a client has signed their contract, they are assigned to work with an Implementation Specialist.
    2. A kick-off call is scheduled to bring key client stakeholders, the Implementation Specialist, and the Sales Executive together to discuss what implementation will look like.
    3. During the kick-off call, the Implementation Specialist will help the client set goals and agree on expectations for the process. Some clients may come in with a “launch day” in mind, which we try our hardest to accommodate. We also have the option to launch certain parts of the EHR software for clients who would prefer to take a more gradual approach to implementation.
    4. Next, the Implementation Specialist will dive into the initial setup. This includes setting up the database, adding the client’s custom branding to their new Patient Portal, organizing requirements for the demographic import file, setting up single sign-on, and creating the first user’s credentials and profile within the software. 

    From this point on, Medicat follows a standard Implementation Plan that we adjust to our client’s unique needs. After the kick-off call, there are typically 1-hour calls scheduled weekly between the Implementation Specialist and the client. In the first implementation call, we determine who will be involved in the implementation process, and a go-live date will be established based on the timeline that was discussed on the kick-off call.

  • Q3. How long does implementation take on average?

    Implementation can take as little as one month. Medicat provides implementation “bootcamps” to rapidly configure the solution to your needs and train your team. Timelines can vary depending on your organization’s unique requirements (e.g., historical record import, 3rd party system interfaces, etc.).

  • Q4. Should your IT Department be involved with implementation?

    Yes, after assessing the clinic’s needs and requirements, we then establish the key contacts from your IT Department and make introductions. We always encourage the key IT person professional who supports the clinic to be at least involved in the demographic file and single sign-on authentication setup process. Sometimes, we work with IT to plan the software installation and configuration process, as well. Finally, we work through any potential roadblocks to data migration.

  • Q5. What do you consider to be most important when it comes to change management? How about end-user adoption of the EHR?

    What’s most important when it comes to change management is ensuring that the client understands that Medicat is here for them. We want to help our clients meet their clinic’s goals and ensure a seamless transition.

    In addition to the implementation process, we have a dedicated team of Customer Support Specialists available to troubleshoot with clients as needed. Medicat also offers a robust online Help Center with a wide range of information that covers many common questions, details on product updates, video tutorials, and more. We never want a client to walk away from implementation feeling like they are on their own; they will always have ongoing support beyond the implementation phase.

  • Q6. Are there other trainings or resources available during the implementation process?

    Depending on the products purchased, clients may have the opportunity to participate in “boot camps” conducted by Medicat, where they can gain a deeper understanding of how to utilize the software. These boot camps involve a collaborative process, allowing clients to exchange ideas and support one another as they go through implementation together.

  • Q7. What key factors make an implementation successful?

    There are several factors that significantly contribute to a successful implementation:

    1. Quickly and clearly identify someone on the client’s team who acts as the “Super User” for their clinic. That way, we can work with this individual one-on-one using a sort of “train the trainer” model.
    2. It’s key that both the client and the Implementation Specialist enter this process with the goal of creating a true partnership. It’s super helpful when the client is comfortable providing us with feedback, is thoroughly engaged, and asks questions to aid their learning.
    3. Selecting a core group of staff and providers to go through implementation always streamlines the process. This allows us to be efficient with our weekly meetings. Of course, we can adjust certain weekly training to include a larger group of staff members, but having a core group to champion the transition and dive deep into the product tends to make all the difference.
  • Q8. Are there better times than others to plan to go through the Implementation Process?

    We’ve noticed schools tend to maximize the benefits of implementation when they start in the middle of the fall semester, or at the beginning of the spring semester. This timing is usually when the staff is regularly available and keeps the information fresh.

    It’s common for a school to want to kick off the implementation process at the beginning of the summer, but with vacation scheduling, logistics can be tough. Plus, staff and providers are not able to test their knowledge in the clinical environment until late August or early September, which makes it hard to truly integrate the product learnings into their daily practices.

In Conclusion

With a thirty-year track record, Medicat has established itself as the foremost provider of software solutions for college health, serving more colleges and universities than all other EHR vendors combined. To optimize the transition to Medicat’s software, careful planning, effective communication, and comprehensive training of key clinic personnel are essential for maximizing the software’s potential and ensuring the best user (and student) experience. Through it all, we want you to know that we are here to support you and your team.

Allow Medicat’s EHR software to function as a valuable tool for your clinic to improve patient care and administrative efficiency. Reach out today to learn more about our implementation process.

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Weathering the Storm: How to Manage Shrinking Student Health Budgets

Weathering the Storm: How to Manage Shrinking Student Health Budgets

shrinking student health budgetsWe’ve all seen headlines in recent years about declines in enrollment across colleges and universities. When enrollment declines, there are several consequences for the institution. One area that’s often impacted by declining enrollment is the budget for student health clinics.

Student health clinics play a vital role in the health and well-being of college students. These clinics provide a range of services, including primary care, mental health counseling, and preventive care. They’re often a crucial resource for students who may not have access to healthcare outside of school or who may be uninsured.

However, when enrollment declines, the budget for student health clinics can also decline. This can lead to many challenges for clinics, including reduced staffing, limited hours of operation, and less access to resources and services.

How Student Health Is Impacted

One of the main ways that declining enrollment can impact the budget for student health clinics is through reduced funding from tuition revenue. When enrollment declines, the amount of tuition revenue also declines, which can lead to budget cuts in various areas, often the student health clinic.

Another way that declining enrollment can affect the budget for student health clinics is through changes in the student health fee. Many colleges and universities charge a student health fee as part of the overall cost of tuition. This fee is used to fund the student health clinic and other health-related services on campus. When enrollment declines, the number of students paying the health fee also declines, which can reduce funding for the student health clinic.

In addition to the direct impact on funding, declining enrollment can also lead to indirect challenges for student health clinics. For example, if the school is facing budget cuts in other areas, the student health clinic may be asked to do more with less. This can lead to increased workload and reduced resources for staff, which can lead to staff burnout and a reduction in the quality of care provided.

Addressing Budget Challenges

There are a few ways that colleges and universities can address the challenges that declining enrollment can pose to student health clinics. Here are some of our top suggestions:

  1. Diversify funding and support sources: For example, the student health clinic could seek grants from local healthcare organizations to supplement its budget. Additionally, community health organizations may support pop-up clinics, educational programs, or other events to allow your staff to keep up with the regular clinic caseload.

  2. Explore alternative models of care: Examples can include telemedicine or virtual visits, which can be more cost-effective and allow the clinic to reach a wider range of students with less stress on administrative staff.

  3. Billing services to health insurance plans: While this can be a hefty undertaking in the short term due to possible changes in administrative and billing staffing and the need for university administration buy-in, the resources invested can pay dividends in the medium- and long-term.

  4. Develop a strong network of volunteers: When you’re asked to do more with less, it’s time to get creative. Building a network of volunteers, including students, community members, or other university staff, can free up time and resources for your full-time clinic staff. For example, student health ambassadors can help staff educational events and promote clinic services on your behalf, allowing your team to focus on providing exceptional care within the clinic itself.

There’s no doubt that declining enrollment can have significant impacts on the budget and operations of your clinic. Your team plays a vital role in the health and well-being of students, and it’s important to ensure they have the resources and support they need to continue providing high-quality care.

By diversifying funding sources and exploring alternative models of care, colleges and universities can work to mitigate the challenges posed by declining enrollment and ensure that students have access to the healthcare services they need.

Proactively managing resources, staff caseloads, and demand for services is key. Medicat’s college health software solutions help your clinic do just that. Learn more about the power of an integrated approach to supporting practice management and electronic records.

Interested in learning more about how your campus health solutions can become more integrated and impactful?  Connect with a member of our team.

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