How are UMN students experiencing telehealth? Mixed bag

The University of Minnesota’s  Minnesota Daily Podcast, looks at…

the Boynton Mental Health Clinic’s coronavirus response and patients’ reactions, speaking to providers at Boynton and students who have experienced virtual therapy.

The experience sounds much more mixed than I would have anticipated. They spoke with students and health care providers. Healthcare, especially mental health care, went online in early March due to COVID, as soon as the campuses closed. In March, they saw a sudden drop in mental health appointments, often based often on policies of a students home state as well as because need for therapy may have changed as students went home. But eventually that number went back up.

As I listened I try to track the pros and cons of remote telehealth:

Complaints about telehealth:

  • It doesn’t capture body language.
  • It would be difficult to build a rapport if you had never met in person.
  • Difficult without broadband.
  • Difficult when home isn’t a safe place.
  • Availability depends on students home state when they go home.
  • Digital skills are required

Advantages:

  • It is more convenient.
  • Can do it from a distance.
  • Students can keep connected from home.
  • Able to see students who are sick or in quarantine.
  • Reaching students who were hesitant to come into the office in the past due to stigma.
  • Online doesn’t require masks, in person does. Hard to read a face behind a mask.

Love it, hate it or site somewhere in between, telehealth is here to stay – even in a post-COVID world. Despite the shortcomings, it is a way to encourage new patients, to maintain continuity for a transient population and it keeps people safe.

This entry was posted in education, Healthcare, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s