New equipment and technology raises the bar at Student Health

Student Health strives to provide state-of-the-art primary medical care here on campus. In the past year, new equipment and technology helped us do just that.

In the summer of 2018, Dr. Tom Woodward and Dr. Marina Usacheva, both board-certified Family Medicine physicians at Student Health, initiated the process for obtaining a portable ultrasound unit for our clinic. Dr. Usacheva stated, “Point of Care Ultrasound is a great tool that allows us to identify “invisible” structures (foreign bodies, cysts, Intrauterine Device (IUD) placements) in real time, and to demonstrate those findings to patients right here in our office.”

Physicians received education which included attending ultrasound seminars, completing self-study modules, participating in training sessions with an expert Family Medicine ultrasound practitioner at UIHC, and working with the Carver College of Medicine Simulated Patient Program to have some hands-on practice.

Physicians use the ultrasound as another helpful diagnostic tool, just like a stethoscope is an assessment tool. Patients will still be referred to the hospital for certain types of ultrasounds.

Patients like being able to have an ultrasound done at Student Health, not always having to be referred to the hospital. It can help the patient have a clearer idea of how to manage their medical situation or condition, besides the advantage of saving time.

In the fall of 2018, Dr. Paul Natvig initiated the purchase of an Electrocardiogram (ECG) machine. Dr. Natvig, who is a psychiatrist and also interim Medical Director, was interested in having our own ECG so that baseline measurements could be done efficiently on patients who were being started on medications that could affect the heart. There were other Student Health patients who could benefit as well.

Student Health Medical Assistants (MAs) attended training at the UIHC, and conduct the ECG testing. Constance Wagner, Nurse Manager, is pleased that her MAs are an integral part of this new process and have this opportunity for ongoing staff development. “Medical Assistants are educated in the use of the ECG in their curriculum, so it was only natural to have them refresh this training and conduct the testing in our clinic.” The ECG machine is linked to Epic, our medical record shared with the UIHC. When a test is performed, it is sent via electronic transmission and read by cardiologists at the UIHC.

Technology is helping us help students as well. We have utilized the electronic medical record, Epic, for over 10 years, but recently were able to implement a new feature here in the clinic. When a billable service is documented, charges are automatically applied, reducing staff involvement in reviewing visit notes to extract and code the charges appropriately. Student Health Business Manager Elaine Davis says, “This is a process that improves accuracy and timeliness of billing for services, which is a positive for the students we serve.”

Having advanced medical equipment and technology that supports our work, increases efficiency and improves both the quality and quantity of services we can provide for students. We strive to contribute to Student Success by providing the very best medical care possible during the student’s journey at the UI.

2019 Year In Review

This article is part of the 2019 Year in Review, which highlights some of the Division of Student Life's accomplishments from the previous academic year.

Go to Year in Review