The COVID-19 pandemic has gone beyond just affecting our physical health—experts have seen that mental health issues have risen across the country as our lives continue to be upended. For college students, this has been especially true.
That’s why one North Texas company has set out to assist young adults with its on-demand telehealth services.
Introducing TimelyMD, a virtual healthcare provider that partners with colleges and universities to offer students an easy way to get help for a variety of needs. It’s being billed as the only student-first telehealth—and its mission of improving the well-being of college students is proving to be needed now more than ever.
TimelyMD is based on the idea that virtual medical and mental health care is accessible for college students anytime, anywhere. With its around-the-clock campus health and counseling center resources, the company aims to have customized medical care, on-demand mental health support, scheduled counseling, psychiatry, and health coaching programs always available.
Founders Luke Hejl, Chris Clark and Alan Dennington attended Abilene Christian University together, and as the story goes, an idea to start a business occurred over dinner. It later snowballed into a yearlong research project into telehealth, specifically as it relates to higher education.
In 2018, ACU became the first university to use TimelyMD’s services.
The company says it offers a complete care solution for campus health, with services related to everything from simple medical queries to moments of psychiatric crisis. Its team has been steadily expanding for the past few years, but with the events of 2020—the pandemic, racial injustice movement, economic downturn—its growth has been tenfold.
With remote schooling in particular, TimelyMD says it has seen a marked increase in interest from schools across the country. Demand for virtual mental health services is surging: Pre-COVID, 10 percent of TimelyMD telehealth visits were for mental health counseling.
That number is now more than 60 percent.
Local participating academic institutions include Collin College, Paul Quinn College, and Abilene Christian University. Nationally, TimelyMD has more than 65 partner schools, including Duke, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, and Emory.
How it works
The company told Dallas Innovates that whether students are having an emotional crisis, a cold, or COVID, it works to break down barriers to care. TimelyMD has licensed providers in all 50 states, and unlimited, no-cost telehealth visits available.
It works like this, the company told us:
On the medical side, a licensed TimelyMD provider assesses the symptoms of the student through a phone or video consultation and creates a care plan, prescribing medications if needed.
On the mental health side, TalkNow (24/7 immediate access to a mental health professional) is an ideal platform to speak with a mental health provider about anything from general anxiety to family relationships to a critical situation. When students log in, they just click on TalkNow to be connected with a professional to quickly get the help and advice they need. (They can also schedule counseling in advance if there is a specific provider they would like to see.)
When students log on, they can see the profiles, faces and basic identifying details of providers available to them right then. Students can choose a specific provider or select the first available. Typically, students who choose first available are speaking with someone within 5-10 minutes.
There’s also the ability to connect with a provider from a student’s unique perspective, including those related to race, religion, or LGBTQ+ identity.
The COVID effect
When COVID-19 hit, the TimelyMD team realized telehealth was no longer a luxury—it was an imperative.
Two surges in demand came over the course of the year for its services: The first in late March, when most schools pivoted to remote instruction, and the second this fall, as many campuses continued to operate with uncertainty.
Today, TimelyMD is serving ten-times the number of students than it was before the pandemic. The team attributes this to a couple of reasons:
First, in some states, medical and mental health providers have been left to sort through the complication of state licensures for out-of-state students and the possible legal implications of non-compliance, such as loss or suspension of licensure.
Additionally, student health centers—and college counseling centers, in particular—are overwhelmed with demand. We come alongside them as an extension of the services they offer to deliver high-quality medical and mental health care.
Finally, the coronavirus has also amplified parents’ desire for administrative oversight and more student support services, according to a recent survey we conducted. Now more than ever, parents want colleges and universities to take care of their students.
The TimelyMD team didn’t want to change its model, but instead honed in on accelerating growth. It more than doubled its annual recurring revenue goal for this year, and predicts ARR to more than triple year-over-year in 2021.
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