Virtual Care through Telehealth
Safe, quality care in the privacy of your home.
SIU Medicine has expanded its existing telehealth program to provide care for patients with limited or no access to primary or specialty care - especially during the current global pandemic. SIU Medicine's physicians are available to treat patients virtually for a variety of illnesses and issues through video chats.
You might be interested in scheduling a virtual visit with an SIU Medicine provider if you are:
- Immunosuppressed or immunocompromised
- Worried about exposing your family to COVID-19
- Following orders to socially distance from others
Schedule a virtual visit with your existing SIU Medicine provider today, and talk with your provider in the safety of your home. To request a virtual visit, call 217-545-8000 or request one online.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of video chats, or sometimes phone conversations, to extend care when you and the doctor aren’t in the same place at the same time. If you have a smartphone or a computer and internet access, you already have everything you need (see below for details). Recent federal and state policy changes now allow you to receive care using existing technology. As a good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide Public Health Emergency, you can:
- Talk to your doctor live over the phone or video chat
- Send and receive messages from your doctor using the FollowMyHealth portal for secure messaging and document sharing
- Use technology so your doctor can check on you at home. For example, you might use a blood pressure cuff or food-tracking app to help your doctor stay informed on your progress
Why should I try telehealth now?
Virtual care is not intended to replace a visit to a doctor for all health care needs going forward. This service is intended to support your or your child’s care during the current global crisis, and may be used as supplemental care when we feel it’s safe to begin seeing patients regularly.
What types of care can I get using telehealth?
You might be surprised by the variety of care you can have through telehealth. SIU Medicine providers treat a variety of concerns or complaints through telehealth during the current public health crisis. Your doctor will decide whether telehealth is appropriate for your health needs. If you need care — especially during the COVID-19 emergency — it’s worth checking to see what your telehealth options are. Some common types of appointments we offer include:
- General health care, like wellness visits
- Follow-up appointments
- Prescriptions for medicine
- Dermatology (skin care)
- Nutrition counseling
- Mental health counseling
- Urgent care conditions, such as sinusitis, rashes, pink eye, abdominal or back pain, urinary tract infections, common rashes, seasonal allergies, diarrhea, vomiting etc.
What can’t our health care providers treat virtually?
More serious conditions that require an in-person visit to the doctor cannot be treated through virtual urgent care. Such conditions including the following:
- chest pain or palpitations
- stroke-like symptoms, such as sudden-onset weakness, numbness, or tingling
- blood in the stool
- breast concerns
- complications of cancer treatment
- congestive heart failure
- coughing up blood, or hemoptysis
- drug overdose
- genital concerns
- large cuts or lacerations
- mental status changes
- pregnancy complications
- respiratory distress
- severe headache or migraine
- sickle cell disease
- vomiting blood, or hematemesis
What should you expect during a telehealth visit?
If you or your child needs care for a non-emergency condition, we’ll work with you to schedule a video or phone visit with an SIU provider at a time that works for you. Rest assured, your private health information is safe with us.
We treat adults as well as children birth to 17. For a child’s visit, the parent or legal guardian must schedule the visit on behalf of the child. In most cases, our providers can only treat your child if the parent or legal guardian is present during the visit.
With virtual care, you or your child can do the following:
- receive an examination, diagnosis, and treatment from an SIU Medicine provider
- be treated for a variety of medical concerns such as mental health, cough, sore throat, flu-like symptoms, rash, allergies and pink eye
- receive an after-visit summary containing a care plan and any follow-up instructions, including referrals for a specialist visit or diagnostic imaging or bloodwork
- have prescriptions recommended by your virtual care provider sent to the pharmacy of your choice
How long do telehealth appointments last?
Visits are usually 30 minutes, and could be longer if needed.
If you are eligible for an online appointment to see your SIU Medicine provider, here is some information to help you set up your home technology for a successful visit.
Telehealth visits are billed the same as an in-person visit. If you are a Medicare patient, you will be responsible for the same co-insurance and deductible for this telehealth visit that you would have paid if you had been seen for this visit in the office. If you have questions about how much you may owe, please contact your insurance provider.
Tips for a successful telehealth appointment:
- Check that there are no airflow issues that affect the sound and you being able to hear your provider (such as fans, ac units, open windows, or driving in your car – please pull over for your appointment)
- Be sure you are in a private quiet space at home, where others can’t hear the conversation between you and your provider. This will also allow for your provider to hear you clearly.
Please review the following steps that should be done BEFORE your appointment:
It is very important that these steps are completed before the scheduled date and time of the appointment in case you experience any technical difficulties. SIU Medicine currently uses a platform called WebEx to conduct video chats with your doctor. These steps will help you get set up on this system.
If you will be attending your appointment from a cell phone:
(your cell phone must have a working camera) Using your cell phone:
- Go to the Google Play Store or Apple Store.
- Search for Cisco WebEx Meetings app.
- Select it and install it.
- After install is complete, open the app.
- If asked, accept Terms of Service, Privacy Statement, and other possible permissions.
- You can close the app at this point.
Separately, you should receive either an email invite in your regular inbox (note: if you hit “accept” on the appointment date and time in the email, the email will disappear and the information will show up on your calendar) or a letter from SIU with your meeting number and password. You will need both of these to enter the meeting with your provider on the day of your appointment.
If you will be attending your appointment from a computer:
(computer must have a working camera and microphone)
- Visit https://siumed.webex.com
- If a screen that states “Join a Meeting” appears, then your computer does not need anything else before the scheduled day of the appointment.
- Download the WebEx software to your computer if you do not already have it.
- You can complete a test Webex appointment by visiting https://www.webex.com/test-meeting.html. This will help you identify connection issues before your appointment.
If you do not receive an email with detailed WebEx information or a letter within 2 days of your appointment, please call 217-545-8000 and ask for your doctor’s office.