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News, University News

Brown telehealth services here to stay

Telehealth services unavailable for students taking leave this fall, open for remote students

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, September 17, 2020

Health Services says CAPS, BWell and Student Support Services will offer virtual treatment for remote students alongside telehealth this fall.

Health Services will offer both in-person and virtual care during the fall semester, as many students begin returning to campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Services originally transitioned to remote operations in April in light of public health concerns, The Herald previously reported. Since then, a number of students and clinicians have turned to telehealth services for treatment.

“We appreciated being able to stay connected to students using telehealth,” wrote Executive Director of Health and Wellness and Associate Vice President for Campus Life Dr. Vanessa Britto MS’96 and Clinical Director Dr. Adam Pallant in an email to The Herald. “It has been an important mechanism for helping to mitigate the disruption of student care.”

Students and clinicians have adapted quickly to this new mode of treatment, Britto and Pallant wrote, adding that telehealth efforts have been “extremely effective” thus far and have permitted a “continuity of care” even without in-person services.

“Students didn’t need to find new providers, nor begin their story and history from scratch all over again,” Britto and Pallant wrote. 

Telehealth services will not be available for students taking leave this fall, but are open to students who have chosen to learn remotely, Britto and Pallant added. 

Kathryn Thompson GS, president of the Graduate Student Council and doctoral student at the School of Public Health, shared in Britto and Pallant’s satisfaction with the telehealth services. Having now utilized telehealth appointments herself, she said she appreciated the option to receive treatment from home amid the pandemic, noting that clinicians were “very responsive” and scheduled treatment with “minimal wait time.”

But Britto and Pallant warn that telehealth has limitations in addressing certain clinical needs. 

“There will always need to be a mechanism for those who need to have a clinical encounter in person,” they wrote.

Sarah Hoxha ’23, who used telehealth services after she moved back to New York City, shared that she wished she were able to visit in-person “for (her) own peace of mind,” though her condition did not necessitate a physical examination. But she praised the doctors for their openness, stating they gave her “space to talk through questions” and were easily accessible.

Alongside telehealth, Britto and Pallant say other Campus Life resources such as CAPS, BWell and Student Support Services will continue to be available for remote students this fall.

While there may be times when students should seek care locally, “Health and Wellness staff will almost always be willing to have a conversation with any eligible student,” Britto and Pallant wrote.

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