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Coronavirus

Don't let other medical conditions backslide during COVID-19

Pictured is Barb Bunton, a family nurse practitioner at the Convenient Care at the Morris Hospital Diamond-Coal City campus.Although Morris Hospital practitioners are practicing a lot of telemedicine, some patients are still seen in person.
Pictured is Barb Bunton, a family nurse practitioner at the Convenient Care at the Morris Hospital Diamond-Coal City campus.Although Morris Hospital practitioners are practicing a lot of telemedicine, some patients are still seen in person.

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Dr. Jaynee Pendergast, a board-certified family medicine physician with Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers, said don't let chronic or new medical conditions backslide while the pandemic runs its course.

.even more. Her concern is for those who may be putting aside other illnesses and chronic conditions while COVID-19 runs its course.

Pendergast is one of the health care professionals at Morris Hospital who worked to set up the telemedicine video appointments that the hospital’s providers are now using.

Those who need to maintain their regular care include patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, COPD and kidney disease, as well as those who are taking medication for any chronic condition

If they lapse in their health care or medications, Pendergast said, the consequences to their health could be serious and long-term.

Not properly managing a chronic condition can also make one more susceptible to the coronavirus, Dr. Pendergast says.

According to Pendergast, Morris Hospital providers are seeing most of their patients through the telemedicine video program.

Patients are virtually connected with their provider through the Cisco WebEx Video Conference app, meaning anyone who has a computer, laptop or cell phone with internet service has the ability to conduct a virtual office visit with their Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers providers.

WebEx is a HIPAA verified program that has security features assuring patient information is always safe.

“When it’s time for an appointment,” Dr. Pendergast explains, “I ‘admit’ the patient to my virtual office on the computer. They are up on my screen, I am up on their screen, and we can see each other and talk with each other. We’re able to do an ‘office visit’ with the patient sitting at their house and me in my office.”

If video capability is not an option for her patients, Pendergast still advises the patient to call the office. Some patients are still seen for an in person visit.

Those who have acute health problems that arise should call their primary care provider, visit Morris Hospital’s convenient care or immediate care locations, or, for life threatening matters, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room.

For more information about telemedicine at Morris Hospital, visit morrishospital.org/telemedicine.

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