The Student Health Center (SHC) has implemented a new online self-scheduling system for appointments involving Sexually Transmitted Infection lab work and examinations.
The new system is easily accessible, as it runs through a patient portal that every student is enrolled in upon acceptance to Sam Houston State University.
“I think definitely with this generation and with the technology age that we’re dealing with, online electronic communication is the preference,” SHC Director Erica Bumpurs said. “Less face-to-face, less having to call and schedule or come in and schedule. We felt that this was really a needed service for the population that we serve, since that only includes the students here at Sam Houston State University.”
To make an appointment, students log in to their patient portal and go to the appointment scheduling section. There, they will find a questionnaire to answer about symptoms they are having and the specifics of what might be going on. This allows students to determine what kind of visit they should schedule.
There are two options for an STI appointment type: there is a lab only visit, and a provider visit.
For a lab only visit, the patient comes in to get lab work done and obtain results. This does not involve an interaction with one of the SHC’s providers, only the nurse who takes them back to the lab and answers any questions they might have. Lab results will come back to the student through their patient portal as well.
The provider visit involves the patient actually seeing a doctor or nurse practitioner to sit down and talk about what they are experiencing and have an examination. The provider will answer the patient’s questions, then order the testing needed. This is just a more comprehensive visit based on the patient’s needs.
The self-scheduling system comes at the request of the student body itself.
“We do patient satisfaction surveys, so every time a student has a visit with us we send them a survey,” Bumpurs said. “They can get it through their phone, we text the survey, we have QR codes that they use. It had come up several times, just requesting the option to schedule online.”
The SHC knows that STIs can be a tough topic for students to talk to their staff about.
“We looked at the STI visits specifically because it can be kind of a sensitive topic,” Bumpurs said. “It can be uncomfortable to students to call the front desk or walk into the front desk and have to explain to a complete stranger what their problems are or what symptoms they’re having, so we thought this would be a great opportunity to give them more privacy and discretion.”
The new online self-scheduling system can be found on the SHSU Student Health Center webpage, then click “What is my patient portal?” From there, students will have the opportunity to discretely schedule an STI screening.
Students have access to the SHC through a medical service fee paid each semester. The office visit is free of charge to them, but any labs ordered will have an additional charge. The prices are provided in the patient portal when they schedule their visit.