Helping Students’ Health

Birkam Health Center making changes to better serve students

by Published: Feb 13, 2013

In a place where an uncount­able num­ber of peo­ple are con­stantly com­mu­ni­cat­ing and spend­ing time together, the chances of catch­ing a sick­ness are high on a col­lege campus.

As employ­ees of Birkam Health Center on Ferris’ cam­pus under­stand this, the center’s employ­ees are doing every­thing they can to make sure stu­dents are get­ting the care they need.

“We under­stand stu­dents are here to focus on their edu­ca­tion, and good health con­tributes to their over­all edu­ca­tional suc­cess,” Clinic Coordinator Candace Price said. “Our staff is knowl­edge­able, student-centered and ded­i­cated to stu­dent health needs.”

The cen­ter, which has approx­i­mately 15,000 patient vis­its per year, pro­vides a mul­ti­tude of services.

Those ser­vices include injury and ill­ness care, women’s health ser­vices, sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­ease ser­vices, allergy clinic/injections, immu­niza­tion clinic/injections, lab­o­ra­tory and radi­ol­ogy ser­vices and refer­ral to specialists.

Amanda Tate, Ferris fresh­man in mol­e­c­u­lar diag­nos­tics, and Jill Stickroe, Ferris fresh­man in archi­tec­ture, both vis­ited Birkam Health Center last fall. However, they had very dif­fer­ent experiences.

“They were really nice and gave me a lot of infor­ma­tion,” Tate said. “I went there because my throat was extremely sore and left with med­i­cine that made me feel better.”

Like Tate, Stickroe also had a sore throat. However, Stickroe was not as pleased with her experience.

“I missed class and waited almost two hours to see a doc­tor. I ended up pay­ing $59 because they didn’t take my insur­ance and was sent home with­out med­i­cine to rest,” Stickroe said. “The next day I went home feel­ing worse and went to my doc­tor there. I ended up hav­ing the flu and was given a Z-Pak.”

According to Stickroe, her expe­ri­ence would have been bet­ter if they would have tested her for strep throat and given her med­i­cine to feel bet­ter. She also said she would have pre­ferred to spend less time in the wait­ing room.

The cen­ter, under­stand­ing there is always room for improve­ment, has been mak­ing changes to bet­ter fit the needs of students.

According to Price, some of those changes include switch­ing from paper to elec­tronic med­ical records, installing check-in kiosks where stu­dents will be able to check them­selves in for appoint­ments and work­ing on cre­at­ing a stu­dent online feature.

This online fea­ture will allow stu­dents to self sched­ule appoint­ments, com­plete health forms and obtain infor­ma­tion on health-related issues from the con­ve­nience of their per­sonal computer.

One of the biggest addi­tions to the health cen­ter is a spe­cial phone that has recently been pur­chased by a grant given from the Diversity and Inclusion Office.

“When it comes to health care, being under­stood and under­stand­ing what is said to you is essen­tial. Providing inter­pre­ta­tive ser­vices for our low English pro­fi­cient and inter­na­tional stu­dent pop­u­la­tion is now a real­ity for Birkam,” Price said. “A spe­cial phone designed for three-way com­mu­ni­ca­tion links [the] patient and health care provider to inter­pre­ta­tive services.”

The inter­pre­tive ser­vices are avail­able in over 180 lan­guages, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. According to Price, mean­ing­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tion can occur once the con­nec­tion is made.

For more infor­ma­tion or health tips, visit Birkam Health Center’s Facebook page.