Two-way, real-time video visits, which began on a
limited basis in April, are available for patients of Memorial
Physician Services, Decatur Memorial Hospital Medical Group,
Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center and other Memorial outpatient
programs, including home hospice.
Patients can arrange a telehealth visit by calling their provider’s
office to see whether the service is appropriate for their care
needs. Visits are conducted via Microsoft Teams, an online platform
that complies with the federal Health Insurance Portability and
“This is an easy way to connect with your care provider,” said
Travis Dowell, president and chief executive officer of Memorial
Added Dr. Ashish John, a Memorial pediatrician: “It’s been a pretty
big success so far. Parents and patients have been highly
Memorial’s telehealth visits, conducted with webcam-equipped home
computers and apps on smartphones and tablets, allow patients to
resume regular visits with providers while promoting social
distancing and reducing the potential spread of COVID-19.
Memorial has offered a different form of telehealth visits since
2017 through MemorialNow. The service is available 24 hours a day
and involves nurse practitioners interacting with patients via
two-way messaging to treat symptoms such as coughs, colds, sore
throats and skin rashes.
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The health system’s expansion into real-time video
visits with physician offices is part of a nationwide trend that has
been building for years because of advances in technology and has
accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dowell said.
“COVID-19 basically has forced everybody to go down this path
faster,” he said. “This is a safe way to get great care.”
Video visits are covered by health insurance with the same co-pays
and out-of-pocket expenses as in-person visits. The visits began in
April and were offered first to patients of Memorial psychiatrists,
then patients of pediatricians. Video visits now are offered to
patients throughout Memorial’s ambulatory care network, Dowell said.
Dr. Abigail Buoy, a psychiatrist at Memorial Physician Services-Vine
Street, said she and her colleagues welcomed the option of video
visits. “We knew our patients were going to need even more care
during this stressful time,” she said.
Rebekah Ibisch, 29, a preschool teacher living in Murphysboro
[Dean Olsen | Media Relations
Consultant | Communications | Memorial Health System]