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Web app aids students access to health service

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A new web-based application designed specifically for Buckeyes is attempting to take some hassle out of going to the doctor.

My BuckMD is attempting to make medical care access easier for students. The My BuckMD connection is a secure link between Ohio State students and Student

Health Services.

Currently, students can cancel and view appointments, receive test results, submit health forms and receive secure communications from Student Health Services staff.

My BuckMD was launched in June 2011 and is free for students. To sign up for these services, students fill out a basic consent form and present a photo identification at the Wilce Student Health Center, Health Information Services located on the ground floor. Accounts become active by the end of the next business day after the forms are completed.

Melissa Ames, the health information manager at Student Health Services, described the new system as an option for students who prefer to do things online.

“Email is a preferred means of communication for students, however it isn’t always secure,” Ames said. “My BuckMD connection is secure messaging through HIPAA-compliant technologies. It permits effective communications to our patients without leaving confidential or non-specific messages on voicemails, or with family or roommates.”

The Health Insurance Portability and Affordability Act, or HIPAA, Privacy Rule “protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

The link also features a blog called Ask BuckMD for students to pose general health, nutrition, dental, optometry or wellness related topic questions. All of the questions are answered on the blog, which is maintained by Dr. John Vaughn, a doctor at the Wilce Student Health Center.

Lauren Levi, a first-year in pharmaceutical science, said she has never used Student Health Services, but would probably use this feature if she got really sick.

“I would use it if I needed immediate care,” Levi said. “I have a cold right now; maybe if it turned into something worse I would look into it.”

According to Student Health Services, 3,929 students had enrolled in the health portal as of Tuesday morning.

The Student Health Services My BuckMD Connection Patient Guide urges students to not share their passwords for the system with anyone, but ensures that the site is secure. The patient guide also reminds students that while the online services are available, My BuckMD Connection is not a substitute for traditional medical care.

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