Mayo Clinic Health System, Lake City, Red Wing

Dr. Randy Foss is a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Lake City and Red Wing. 

This fall, thousands of young adults moved away from home for the first time. For students starting college, they may be excited and a bit nervous. College brings new friends, experiences, pressures and opportunities to be independent.

Yet the excitement may wear off a little when students feel ill for the first time or need follow-up of a medical condition. 

It can feel overwhelming if they have not navigated health care on their own before. Students may have relied on parents to schedule all appointments or pick up prescriptions. They may be confused on how to request these services or even where to go.

The good news is that most students are well-versed in virtual technology. And their experiences make virtually connecting with their hometown health care team an easy task.

Hometown health care teams, including primary care professionals, have known the students for years and have a thorough understanding of their medical histories. 

This familiarity helps to maintain a trusting relationship and personalized care. A solid trusting relationship does more than just feel good. Patients who trust their health care team report healthier behaviors, fewer symptoms, higher quality of life and greater satisfaction with their treatment.

At Mayo Clinic Health System, there are many virtual options to connect hometown health care teams with students living away from home. Remind your student of these options if he or she needs care and is navigating the “real world” for the first time:

  • Check symptoms tool is a no-cost option available in Patient Online Services on the web or through the Mayo Clinic app. The student receives care recommendations based on selected symptoms experienced. 

  • Express Care virtual visits is a low-cost option with a health care professional for common health concerns. Students can schedule Express Care appointments online through Patient Online Services or by calling the local appointment telephone number. Nearly all Express Care appointments are offered at a flat rate of $69.

  • Express Care Online is a web-based virtual care option for common health concerns. This could include acne, cold sores, cold symptoms, COVID-19 symptoms, diarrhea, nausea, pink eye, rashes, vaginal yeast infection and many others. After the student completes an online assessment, a health care professional reviews the symptoms and recommend a treatment plan within an hour

  • Nurse Triage is a convenient way to access 24/7 advice from a team of expert and caring registered nurses. They use medical information backed by the expertise of Mayo Clinic to help answer a student’s questions. 

  • Prescription mail service can ship a student’s medications directly to college housing. Students can request prescription refills online and track mail service shipments.

  • Video appointments are conducted virtually using an online patient portal called Patient Online Services and a student’s tablet or mobile device. Video appointments can be used for routine medical appointments or to discuss new symptoms or concerns with the care team. In many cases, these appointments can be scheduled with the student’s primary care professional.

Knowing a trusted health care team is available, even when separated by miles, can make the transition into adulthood less intimidating or overwhelming.

As a reminder, these virtual options are not limited to students. Any Mayo Clinic Health System patient, 18 months and older, can take advantage of these services. The options may be especially appealing for people who travel often, have mobility concerns or have busy schedules.

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