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SLUCare Launches Neighborhood Virtual Visits

by Maggie Rotermund on 06/01/2020
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Telehealth Hubs in Area Churches Will Connect Those Without Smartphones, Internet to SLUCare Physicians

SLUCare, the academic medical practice of Saint Louis University, is launching a program designed to help those without home internet or smartphones access telehealth services. The Neighborhood Virtual Visit program will connect patients to SLUCare medical providers from a telehealth hub at a participating area church.

Virtual Visit
Patients will use a computer kiosk to visit with their SLUCare physician. Submitted photo

The program aims to open access to health care, which has been limited due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“SLUCare is investing in going to people and removing part of the barrier between the sick person and health care,” said Daniel Blash, Ph.D., chief diversity officer and vice dean of diversity, equity and inclusion for SLU’s School of Medicine. “We are committed to providing the best medical care for patients whether that be in the office or virtually.”

The program is launching in four St. Louis churches. Patients who wish to use neighborhood virtual visits should call 314-977-KIND (5463) to speak with a SLUCare representative.

Not all conditions are suited for a virtual visit, so a patient’s needs will determine if a SLUCare provider can see an individual online or in person. Virtual appointments are best for less serious ailments such as allergies, arthritic pain, asthma, colds and flu, or infections.

If a virtual visit is scheduled, a patient will choose one of the following church locations:

A volunteer facilitator at the church will guide patients to a private area where they can interact with their provider via a telehealth kiosk featuring a computer with camera and audio capabilities. The facilitator will begin the session by logging the patient in and will leave once the session is set up.

The patient can then privately discuss their health concerns with their medical provider. When the visit ends, the facilitator will clean and set up the kiosk for the next patient.

“This will look like any other telehealth clinic visit,” said Kimberly Watts, director of clinic operations for SLUCare. “The volunteers have been trained and will be in contact with SLUCare staff as needed.”

Blash said the initial church sites for the program were chosen because of their location in underserved areas and their work with community initiatives like food banks and continuing education opportunities.

“We can’t thank the community and these churches enough for trusting us to partner on this initiative,” Blash said.

For more information, visit slucare.edu/neighborhood or call 314-977-KIND.


SLUCare Physician Group is the academic medical practice of Saint Louis University, with more than 500 health care providers and 1,200 staff members in hospitals and medical offices throughout the St. Louis region. SLUCare physicians are among the most highly trained in their fields - more than 50 specialties in all - and are national and international experts, renowned for research and innovations in medicine.