ISSUED: 9 May 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — When students return to Shepherd University in August to begin the new school year, they will have access to new, expanded healthcare services. Shepherd Telehealth will provide 24-hour access to doctors via phone, tablet, or computer.
Through an agreement with Teladoc, all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Shepherd will have access to the service as part of their student fees. Shepherd Telehealth will also be offered to faculty, staff, and those affiliated with Shepherd such as Lifelong Learning and Wellness Center members, alumni, and retirees for a fee of $40 per year for unlimited access.
“We have a Health Center here at Shepherd with a nurse on duty and limited hours where students can make appointments,” said Dr. Scott Beard, provost. “We wanted to provide increased access to healthcare services for our students. Telemedicine has really taken off in the last several years with the development of the many apps for devices. Shepherd Telehealth is a way that we can provide increased access both for our students and employees.”
“I think it’s a novel approach to providing healthcare across the board for all populations,” said Dr. Thomas Segar, vice president for student affairs and information technology. “What I like about it is it gives access to individuals who otherwise may not have easy access because it can be achieved over the phone or via an app.”
Segar said Shepherd Telehealth will particularly benefit students who aren’t on campus between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. when the Health Center is open, as well as those who have issues on weekends or don’t live on campus.
“This will benefit the students whom we often don’t think about—the non-residential commuting student who may not have health insurance, or who may not have a level of insurance where they can afford to go to see a primary care or urgent care physician,” Segar said. “They can pick up the phone or get on their computer to contact a licensed healthcare provider and receive the help that they need. This service is 24 hours a day and will reach those students who are not using the Health Center.”
Segar pointed out that offering additional services to help keep students healthy will also benefit them academically.
“Class attendance is one of the highest predictors of academic success, actually higher than pre-college academic performance,” Segar said. “Going to class matters, so if we can provide students with all the support we can to keep them healthy so they can show up at class, that’s all the better.”
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