Helping students’ health

Birkam Health Center making changes to better serve students

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.