This article is presented in partnership with MU Health Care.

Tyrone Turner was conflicted as his appointment with his primary care doctor, Anne Fitzsimmons, MD, approached in early April. He wanted to discuss the results of recent tests and ask questions about medications he takes to control his diabetes, but he also wanted to avoid going out in public because of the COVID-19 threat.

Turner, a carpenter in Columbia, was told his visit could be handled through virtual care. Without leaving his house, he connected with Fitzsimmons through a video conference.

“I was able to walk into the next room and grab my medicines and go over them with her. It really worked out well,” Turner said. “I also took my blood sugar right in front of her, so we got a blood sugar reading, too. You can do that in the office, but it’s a lot more comfortable sitting in
your living room.”

All the reasons people come to MU Health Care’s hospitals and clinics have not stopped for the COVID-19 outbreak. What the pandemic has shown is that many of those appointments can go on as planned virtually. That is especially important for rural Missourians, who often have to travel long distances for medical care.

“Much of the care that we provide can be done with virtual care, and that keeps patients out of our waiting rooms, keepsthem home sheltered in place, but getting health care at the same time,” said MU Health Care Family Medicine Doctor Michael LeFevre, MD. “That means the risk of exposure when patients do need to come in is very, very low, because you’re unlikely to come into contact with anybody that’s been exposed to the virus.”

When people call their MU Health Care provider to set up an appointment, they are told if they’re a candidate for virtual care. If so, they receive instructions on how to participate in a video conference with their doctor, which is conducted through the Zoom app. MU Health Care subscribes to the secure, HIPAA-compliant version of the app, so personal health information remains private.

MU Health Care offers virtual care for visits with primary care doctors, specialists and physical therapists.

“The fact you can sit here and talk to your doctor just like an office visit was nice,” Turner said. “We went over some prescriptions I needed refilled and that sort of thing, and now my medicine is ready for me.”

To learn more, visit