6/26/19

Get in, get seen and get on with life

Family farmer and accountant Russ Leigh of Hoopeston uses technology for his business – especially this planting season – but was pleasantly surprised new technology helped him balance his health and productivity this spring.

Suffering from building sinus pressure, a runny nose, headache and mild cough, coupled with long hours, he was feeling fatigued.

“With all the rain we’re getting this season, I was in a pinch to take advantage of dry weather to get my crops planted,” he said. He suspected it was a sinus infection. Leigh knew he needed care but didn’t have even an hour to spare to get into the doctor.

He remembered hearing about virtual visits from his daughter who said it was ideal for 50 common conditions, including asthma, allergies, cold/flu and behavioral health.

With a virtual visit, you have another option for getting non-emergency care quickly. You can see a doctor or counselor 24/7 by phone or computer at Carle.org/virtual-visits.

His wife, Linda, downloaded the application and registered him within minutes. Next, field-side, Leigh connected with a board-certified physician to discuss his health.

“It was pretty slick and easy. He asked how I was feeling and to describe my symptoms,” Leigh said. “It was really just a short wait until we got connected. He was pleasant and personable and soon I was back on my way. I fired up the tractor and got back out there knowing relief was on its way.”

In a matter of minutes, he got the care he needed. His wife picked up his prescription and brought it out to him with supper.

“Farmers extend a great deal of energy caring for their land, livestock, machinery and family. As good as agricultural producers are in caring for others, they are not always as careful in taking care of themselves,” said Amy Rademaker, program coordinator, Rural Health & Farm Safety.

She applauds Leigh for utilizing technology in this manner.

“Russ knows his health is important but his primary care physician was booked and it would be a two-hour trip to convenient care with travel so this solution was ideal,” said Linda.

Equally ideal for busy parents like Health Alliance member Dana Hagerstrom whose daughter Clara needed prompt care during the “Polar Vortex” that plagued central Illinois in late January.

“I used virtual visits on the coldest day of the year,” Hagerstrom said. “The physician was even from the Midwest so completely understood why I didn’t want to drag her out in the weather.”

Clara had a fever, store throat and nausea. She wasn’t eating. With a history of strep throat, her mom suspected it again was the culprit.

“She just wasn’t moving from the couch and she had those tell-tale signs of strep,” Hagerstrom said. “She told me about her ‘neck pain’ and her throat was raging red.”

The physician, a pediatrician, examined Clara’s throat through photos, called in an antibiotic and a remedy for the nausea.

“It was less than an hour for everything, start to finish, and that included creating an account,” Hagerstrom said.

She recommended parents create an account now, before they need it, so it’s easily accessible when the time comes. They will need to create their own first, and then any members of the household.

Virtual visits are available to everyone, not just Carle patients. Connect at Carle.org/virtual-visits by computer or mobile device. Patients will pay a one-time fee for diagnosis and treatment with no hidden charges. Health Alliance Members may receive this service under your insurance benefits.

“We have a great relationship with our pediatrician in town, but was pleasantly surprised how personable the physician was on the phone and how caring he was for Clara. He even called back a few minutes later to clarify a dosage question,” she said. “I was thoroughly impressed.”