SIH COVID-19 Resources: SIH is prepared and ready to provide safe, quality care to all the communities we serve.

For Immediate Release May 15, 2020

Dr. Matt Winkleman of Harrisburg discusses video visits for Southern Illinois Healthcare patients in a sample Webex video. -- TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS -- On Friday, Southern Illinois Healthcare unveiled new remote health care options for people living in southern Illinois.

Using remote communication platfor Webex, Dr. Matthew Winkleman of Harrisburg discussed ways patients at SIH Primary Care Harrisburg may communicate with health care providers through video visits. Video visits are considered outpatient visits and can be conducted through an internet connection. All established SIH patients may use video visits, if that patient's doctor determines a video visit is appropriate. Providers are not required to see all patients via video, but are offering the option to help patients practice social distancing.
Patients using the video visit option will be contacted by registration. The video visit may be conducted using Webex, FaceTime or Google Duo.

Traditional doctor visits continue to be available as well, Winkleman said.

"It's not going to work in every scenario, but there's going to be some situations where this is going to be better for patients than traditional office visits," he said.

SIH offers several other types of remote visits depending on the patient's needs, according to SIH Communications Coordinator Rosslind Rice

  • E-visits are available only via MyChart for a specific list of symptoms. There is no video or audio involved in the encounter. E-visits are initiated by the patient.< /li>
  • Virtual visits are conducted for patients suspected of COVID-19. These are not available through the office; visits are only available by calling the SIH COVID-19 Hotline.< /li>
  • Telephone visits are not a form of telehealth. They are simply phone conversations that are not billable and should only be documented as a telephone call encounter.< /li>
  • Telehealth and telemedicine are terms we are reserving for inpatient care.< /li>

Winkleman, who is one of several local doctors at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, said testing capacity also has increased in the region.

"It has improved," Winkleman said. "The rule of thumb is test is being administered when it will make a difference in the type of care."

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