Responsible Athletics: Ensuring Complete, Accurate, Student Athlete Health Information at The University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati has a total enrollment of 46,244 students. The Bearcats’ athletics program feature over 500 student athletes on 19 varsity teams. Every year UC receives athletes from all over the country – and the world. In order to participate on any of the University’s sports teams, incoming athletes must complete a packet of health information forms each year. Returning athletes must update their packets to show accurate information regarding their physicals and insurance, among other required forms to meet compliance requirements.
A few years ago, collecting all these required packets and information proved to be a difficult task. UC’s medical staff had to make an attempt to send packets out to players as they were coming in and hope they would fill it out before arriving on campus. This presented the challenge to the athletic staff to have to track down students who were missing forms, or other important information. Sometimes the student athletes would return their required paperwork and sometimes they would not. Having the athletic staff track down missing health information and incomplete packets was becoming an increasingly difficult and tedious process. “The process was cumbersome, but it was the best available at the time,” said Aaron Himmler (AT, MS), UC’s Assistant AD for Sports Medicine and Football Head Athletic Trainer. Then Aaron heard about PRIVIT, “PRIVIT was available right when we [the athletic staff] were about fed up with our current process.” He decided to contact Stanford University about how they were implementing PRIVIT at their school.
PRIVIT offered a technology that completely eliminated paper as the method for collecting sensitive student athlete health information. The athletic department staff no longer had to chase down incomplete forms and information. UC recently finished its fourth year of utilizing PRIVIT’s secure technology.
“I can’t image going back to the paper route, all the steps included in that process and then getting incomplete information and not knowing that until they [student athletes] get here to campus. There are 100 to 150 brand new athletes coming in every year so going back to paper means being unsure of information you are getting and not sure you will get it. Not a good situation. Now the time it takes to remind athletes of any missing information is minimal. It eliminates having to individually call athletes to complete missing information.” – Aaron Himmler (AT, MS), Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine and Head Football Athletic Trainer, University of Cincinnati.
The decision to make the change was made and the athletic staff decided to go all in with the new method that PRIVIT provided. The learning curve was short, and they have now reached a point where using the platform is second nature.
Right after an incoming football player sends a letter of intent they receive an email to begin the process of completing their required health information through PRIVIT’s user-friendly advanced mobile technology. By the time the athletes arrive on campus for their incoming physicals the athletic staff has all their information and it has been accessible for some time. This process has become a necessity for the sports program administrators. The department says the quality of information they are receiving has improved significantly.
More Complete and Accurate Information and Reduced Workload for Staff
Aaron says continuing to implement PRIVIT technology is a no-brainer:
“Anything that can give us better, more accurate information on our student athletes I am on board with – because ultimately that is a factor in being able to provide better healthcare,” Himmler says. Being able to collect more accurate, complete and secure health information is critical to the mission of their sports department. “If we can make that process more efficient and less work for the department why wouldn’t you do that? If you can make your life easier and get even better information, then why not?” Since implementing PRIVIT technology the University of Cincinnati’s trainers and athletic staff can review athlete’s health information before they arrive on campus and have the best information available to them.
Another feature Himmler says is invaluable is provided to the students themselves. When students have completed their time at UC, they leave with an accurate medical snapshot available to them to take anywhere they need – whether that is transferring or moving on to the next level or the pros. “A lot of athletes don’t have a good grasp of their medical history. They get shots when they’re younger but don’t remember what for. PRIVIT’s ability to integrate with EMRs [Electronic Medical Records] is great. Transition from one platform to another and being able to share that information is pretty interesting and helpful. Ability to have athletes give information to us through PRIVIT and then we [UC] can transfer to EMR is amazing. Gives a highly detailed medical history and it’s unreal.”
A newer feature being utilized at UC is requiring insurance information for each student athlete to be put in the system. This information has proven to be extremely helpful for the athletic department’s staff. Aaron says the department’s experience with PRIVIT has been easy to use and adaptable to their changing needs. For example, the department is looking into utilizing the welcome video feature to create education pieces that student athletes are required to complete in order to be eligible to play. He calls PRIVIT a “one-stop shop for all pertinent information: physical, immunization, insurance card.”