Ever worry about your son or daughter living away from home for the first time, wondering what would happen in case of illness?
The family doctor is hundreds of miles away from your child’s college campus and you’re not positive he or she fully absorbed all that information about healthcare during orientation.
If your child is enrolled at ACU, you can quit worrying. Thanks to three Class of 2001 alumni – Luke Hejl, Chris Clark and Dr. Alan Dennington – help is just a tap away from TimelyMD.
“Our program and technology allows students to receive care in a way that is natural to them – through their device,” Luke, chief executive officer of TimelyMd, said.
Luke looks back on his own college experience when thinking about how today’s students can benefit from TimelyMD. He attended ACU four years, graduating in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations. Occasionally, Luke went to the on-campus clinic – but not every time he got sick or needed something to keep from getting sicker.
Sometimes even going to an on-campus clinic isn’t convenient. Like other clinics, it has office hours, meaning the clinic isn’t always open when needed. But TimelyMD is on call 24/7, making it convenient to get a medical opinion and even a prescription whenever needed.
“I would have spent a lot less time being sick,” Luke said, if TimelyMD had been available when he was a student.
TimelyMD is focused primarily on universities but other clients use the service, too. ACU was one of the first six clients to sign on when the program launched in January 2017.
“We’ve worked very hard to create something different,” Luke said.
The way the service works is that a university contracts with TimelyMD so that its services are free to students. The university signs up the students and gives them instructions on how to log in and visit with a doctor or counselor.
A credentialed healthcare professional will talk to the student through the website. If a prescription medication is called for, the health professional will write the prescription and send it to the pharmacy the student requests. Cost of the prescription is not included in the consultation.
If the medical or mental health condition can’t be addressed through TimelyMD, the caller will be directed to the campus clinic or another clinic that can meet the student’s needs. Currently, 45 board-certified physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are on call through TimelyMD, including one of the founders Alan Dennington, M.D., who also serves as the company’s chief medical officer.
The founders are especially proud of the mental health aspect of TimelyMD. Luke said when he was in college mental health often was swept under the rug.
“Nobody talked about speaking with a counselor,” he said.
But the staff of TimelyMD is addressing mental health issues and helping to end any stigma. Many college students are living on their own for the first time and facing new kinds of stress without their parents to guide them. A chat with a TimelyMD counselor might be just what the doctor ordered.
Luke said the counseling part of the TimelyMD program was added because of requests from schools across the nation with which they work.
Luke and Alan grew up together in Austin and met Chris at ACU. Before beginning TimelyMD, Luke was CEO of Social Factor, a digital marketing agency, and previously led a medical education company called Doctors in Training. Those two startup experiences and exposure to business in healthcare led to the idea for TimelyMD.
Since the three friends graduated from ACU 17 years ago, much has changed on campus. TimelyMD is just one more innovation for current students to enjoy that wasn’t available in 2001. The three felt pretty sure their creation was a winner, but it’s great to get affirmation from students who are actually using it. Meredith Orr, who will graduate in May, wrote a testimonial for TimelyMD and how it fits in with her busy lifestyle.
“When I was sick, I was able to get the help I needed right away. I even got to call a doctor from my home at 10 p.m.”