July 22, 2024

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Breaking down barriers in international student health care

Breaking down barriers in international student health care

I’ve witnessed first-hand how discussions regarding our ability to accommodate these students, especially concerning housing and health care, have evolved into pressing issues. Our primary goal remains to ensure these students can not only reside but thrive in their new environment.

Our healthcare system, already reeling from the prolonged stresses inflicted by the pandemic and a chronic shortage of workers, is now faced with an accessibility crisis.

Individuals with no family doctor or walk-in clinic available, might default to hospitals for any medical concern, inadvertently escalating wait times and burdening hospitals with cases that could be resolved through alternative medical services.

A recent survey among international students revealed that over 60% find navigating the Canadian healthcare system daunting, underscoring the need for more streamlined and accessible healthcare solutions.

Recognising this challenge, institutions have scrambled to integrate telehealth services as a rapid response. Yet, despite their convenience, these services are often criticised as mere stopgaps, hampered by their limited diagnostic tools and restricted access to specialists.

“Institutions have scrambled to integrate telehealth services as a rapid response”

This is where Student VIP, identifying the critical need within the international student market, has made a commendable leap. In partnership with Cleveland Clinic Canada, we’ve launched the revolutionary Virtual Health Clinic, which aims to transcend the boundaries of traditional telehealth services.

The Virtual Health Clinic merges the accessible nature of telehealth with enhanced diagnostic capabilities, facilitated by a state-of-the-art machine and four disposable five attachments to conduct remote diagnostic exams. This hybrid model offers immediate medical attention and provides a comprehensive analysis that rivals an in-person consultation.

St. Clair College took the initiative as one of the first Canadian schools to implement the Virtual Health Clinic.

Diverting over 150 visits from the emergency room, the Clinic saved students countless hours of waiting while also lowering the number of claims on the health plan. 28% of the students said they would have done nothing to get care if the Virtual Health Clinic did not exist, and 30% of students said they would have gone to the hospital if the Virtual Health Clinic was not accessible to them.

The results have been nothing short of spectacular. Their students now have the convenience of attending to their health needs right on campus, without the dread of long waits or the anxiety of dealing with an unfamiliar insurance claims process.

The success of the Virtual Health Clinic hasn’t gone unnoticed. In recognition of its innovative approach to healthcare inclusion, the clinic was honoured with the Student Support Award at the 2023 PIEoneer Awards.

This achievement isn’t just a feather in our cap; it’s a testament to the potential of innovative healthcare solutions in supporting a growing, diverse student population.

Buoyed by the clinic’s success at St. Clair, I am excited to share that we will be hosting a webinar on November 21, featuring guest speakers, including healthcare professionals and student representatives, providing a multifaceted insight into the clinic’s impact.

During this event, we will delve into the Virtual Health Clinic’s significant impact on St. Clair College and its international student body. We will discuss the operational intricacies of the clinic, the improvements in student health and well-being, and how other institutions can adopt this model.

Join us as we explore this cornerstone of student support, where we not only break down barriers but also build robust frameworks for the health and success of our international students. The journey has just begun, and with each stride, we’re making Canada a more accommodating and nurturing destination for the academic pursuits of students from around the globe.

About the author: This is a sponsored post by Samantha Morneau, the Director of Business Development for Student VIP. Sam has been working with educational institutions nationwide for over a decade to procure innovative wellness solutions built for the modern student. Her passion lies in making advanced healthcare accessible to all, reflecting Student VIP’s commitment to wellness without boundaries.