McDonough District Hospital offers new technology for patients

MDH Nurse Jolyn Utter told NEWS3 about the TeleHeath cart last year.

MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) – The latest technology used at McDonough District Hospital aims to keep patients from traveling far away for appointments.

“We can use this stethoscope so we can listen on this end and the pulmonologist in Springfield can also hear what we’re hearing,” Nurse Coordinator Jolyn Utter said.

The TeleHealth Cart is used to see specialized doctors, who may be located miles away from the patients’ home. Using TeleHealth video chat system keeps the patient from driving the distance.

“The TeleHealth Cart can do everything that you can really do in person other than actual hands-on,” Utter said.

The appointments take place at McDonough District Hospital with a nurse while communicating over the live feed with a doctor at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield.

“They can do a physical exam and they’re 90 miles away,” Utter said.

The cart comes with items used to listen to heart tones and lung sounds, an otoscope to see inside the patients’ ears or throat, and a handheld camera to examine all parts of the body.

Officials say several patients use the cart and they expect to see it grow.

“They’re very thankful and appreciative that they’re able to see that specialist here instead of having to be transferred,” Utter said.

Community members say the new addition will benefit residents in rural areas.

“I think it’s an awesome idea especially because some people are unable to get appointments when they need to, so if they are on urgent business trying to see a doctor right away, that would allow them to see the doctor as soon as possible,” resident Kylee Hill said.

Officials say the doctor usually offers using the new service to a patient during a visit, but they can always request it.

“We have to explain to the patient and get them accustomed to it, and let them know what we’re doing and how they’re going to be seeing this physician,” Utter said.

MDH officials say as more staff is hired, they will bring TeleHealth to the patients’ home. The hospital also adds that most insurance companies cover the costs of using the service.