Hospitals move into high gear as streets, highways shut down for papal visit

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One local hospital has a new app enabling patients to make virtual doctor's visits in case they can't get there in person while Pope Francis is in town. (WPVI)

The planning is done and now some local hospitals have moved into high gear with preparations for the papal visit.

Extra supplies have been arriving for days.

At Pennsylvania Hospital, they've inflated more than 500 air mattresses for nearly 600 workers staying over.

Workers aren't the only ones sleeping over; parents of infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will also be staying over.

They'll be sleeping in the President's House building.

Extra bike racks were installed for workers who will take 2 wheels to work.

all in all, the details are endless.

"When we first started, we had a list of about 187 issues or tasks we needed to address," says John Wierzbowski, Pennsylvania Hospital's director of emergency planning.

"We're now down to 5," he adds,

Eight portable shower trailers are in at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Hospital, annd state agencies have delivered hundreds of cots.

The hospital's pharmacy has one and a quarter million dollars in extra medication.

That's a 4 or 5 day supply.

And through the command centers, they are offering language translation services

"Hi, I'm Dr Randolph, welcome to Jeff Connect. How can I help you?" says the doctor on the smartphone screen.

Meanwhile at Jefferson University Hospital, they launched their new 'Jeff Connect'

At Jefferson, they launched their new "JeffConnect" app just in time for the pope's visit.

Jefferson is inside the traffic zone, so Dr. Judd Hollander explains if patients can't get to them, they can see patients virtually via computer or mobile device.

Anyone can sign up and log on for a virtual appointment with an emergency room doctor.

"Really within a minute or two the ER physician pops up and you can have a conversation," said Dr. Hollander.

The app is best for urgent but not emergent problems, or if you're not sure if you need to be seen.

"So maybe some strains, sprains and injuries, colds, sore throat, runny nose, cough, UTI, wide range," said Dr. Hollander.

Doctors will be available through Jeff Connect 24 hours, 7 days a week.

The cost for a virtual appointment is $49. The service is available in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, but you do not have to be a resident - meaning visitors can also use this service.

For more information, visit: http://hospitals.jefferson.edu/jeffconnect/

Related Topics:
religionpopepope francispope us visitworld meeting of families 2015religionhealthcheckhospitalappsCenter City Philadelphia
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