If you have a stomachache, telemedicine might be right for you. Telemedicine is the practice of clinical medicine using technology to deliver care from afar. It's a safe way to receive medical attention during the pandemic. 

But many people with digestive issues aren't sure when they should contact their provider. Dr. Matthew Stier is a gastroenterologist with Rockford Gastroenterology Associates. He said any symptom that would have required a regular office visit pre-coronavirus should now prompt a telemedicine visit. He listed a range of issues that may require attention.

Routine Telemedicine Advances During Pandemic

Apr 17, 2020

What happens to routine medical care during a pandemic? While most people are concerned about COVID-19, chronic illness and other emergencies haven’t disappeared.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Even during a pandemic, people still get broken legs. Some are still recovering from knee replacements.

It can be difficult to provide hands-on care when you have to stay six feet away from your patients.

But that’s the situation for outpatient clinics like CORA Edgebrook physical therapy in Rockford. Josh Meyers is one of their physical therapists.


In-person mental health services are being scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some groups are making a transition to telemedicine to compensate.  

When it comes to therapy and psychiatric care, telemedicine isn’t new. It involves a videoconference or phone call between patient and caregiver.  It has proven useful in rural areas, where it may not be feasible for the patient to make regular trips to the doctor in a faraway city or town. 

Northwestern Medicine operates the two major hospitals in DeKalb County, but the majority of its resources for stroke care are based at Central DuPage Hospital.  That’s why Kishwaukee and Valley West Hospitals are making use of a telestroke system so doctors can videoconference with area patients.   Stroke coordinator Caryn Josh says it’s one of the first steps in patient care.

“They get that initial CT. They get back to the emergency department room and then we initiate the telestroke robot," she said. "We’re kind of involved from the very beginning with the treatment.”

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

For some people, it's easy to schedule a doctor's appointment and get immediate treatment. But for those who don't live close to a hospital or clinic, this can be more difficult. "Telemedicine" is making this process easier.  

Mark Pfeiffer is a Hampshire resident and small business owner who was having difficulty sleeping. He contacted his local physician, who had Pfeiffer take part in a clinical study.

"After that sleep study, they confirmed, yeah, you have sleep apnea, and so they referred me to Dr. Jain at Delnor Hospital," he said.