Vaden Health Center administrators said that the majority of its patient satisfaction surveys result in positive feedback; however, student response to the health center remains mixed.
In spite of Vaden’s survey results, where were described by medical director Robyn Tepper, some students who spoke to The Daily said they associate dissatisfaction with, and sometimes a sense of stigma, surrounding the services Vaden offers. Others students felt positively about their experiences at Vaden.
For Matt Hoang ‘14, students’ negative perceptions of Vaden may be a result of students failing to understand and appreciate the health center’s limitations.
“They’re what you would expect from student services,” Hoang said. “They’re not very personal or engaging– they’re just doing their jobs.”
Students “kind of go in with . . .low expectations of Vaden, and that’s kind of how I felt freshman year,” said Danielle Rossoni ‘13, a Peer Health Educator (PHE) in Faisan. “But for me, going through the PHE experience and being more involved with Vaden and actually knowing the resources and what’s available there, I have a different perspective on it now.”
John Lassere ‘12 also responded positively when asked about his experiences at Vaden.
“For people who come from contexts where we have good insurance, some may not realize that Vaden is pretty good medical care that sees you pretty quickly and can really kind of take care of quite a lot for you,” Lassere said.
According to Tepper, the most commonly used medical services among students are services for respiratory illnesses, physical injuries, STI screening, contraception, skin problems, fatigue, allergies, stomach problems, eating disorders and asthma.
According to Tepper, Vaden follows the average schedule for most student health centers, which is three students per hour. Routine appointments typically last 20 minutes with five minutes for medical assistants to situate patients and perform standard procedures, like taking blood pressure or temperature. There are also 40-minute appointments for women’s health exams and some physicals. These time frames, however, are not set in stone.
“If a student is particularly ill, we can keep them at Vaden for the entire day if we need to give them intravenous fluids or other supportive treatments,” Tepper said. “We try our best to see students the same day if possible.”
While some students have expressed concerns about misdiagnoses, Tepper said that Vaden has a way of handling such concerns when they occur.
“True misdiagnoses are not very common, but ‘perceived’ misdiagnoses happen more frequently,” Tepper said.
Tepper stated that a common perceived misdiagnosis occurs when students come to Vaden with a sore throat or fever. In response, Vaden will initially screen for strep throat, as it is a treatable illness. If the test is negative and symptoms persist, students will return to Vaden and be tested for another illness like mononucleosis. If the test for mononucleosis returns positive, Tepper indicated that the situation may appear as a misdiagnosis.
“If the strep screen is negative and the student continues to be ill, we will screen for mono, not because we can cure it, but because they may be sick for a long time and need support,” Tepper said. “So some may see this as a misdiagnosis . . . but it is routine medical practice.”
Lassere said he felt student perspectives on Vaden as a whole are fairly positive, but students seem to consider Vaden as formed by two entities: Vaden as a medical service and Vaden as Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Lassere said he believes that students recognize Vaden medical services as “essential,” but that some students associate some stigma with CAPS.
“There is still kind of that stigma about therapy,” Lassere said. “Something I’ve been seeing with my friends . . . is kind of a view of therapy as indicative as something wrong with you– which is totally not true.”
Despite some student dissatisfaction with Vaden, Tepper indicated she and the director of CAPS are constantly and closely working on a quality program that includes digital appointment monitoring and oversees numerous details, including reviews by students treated in the Stanford emergency department.
“We work hard to insure that our delivery of care meets and exceeds accepted clinical guidelines,” Tepper said.