PEORIA (HOI) -- A brand new, virtual platform launched by OSF Healthcare could change the way patients receive care - and it is all based in Peoria.
Health leaders are calling it "the hospital without walls" and downtown Peoria is the central hub.
The facility on Adams Street connects patients throughout Illinois with the care they need.
"Years ago, this was something you may have seen on Star Trek or in some sci-fi movie, but not something you ever thought was actually a reality," said Suzanne Hinderliter, director of digital acute services.
It's a three-floor operation - at ground level, dozens of patient navigators setting up appointments and helping callers with technical issues.
On the second floor, doctors and health specialists are available to monitor patients at a distance.
"The physician is able to talk back and forth with the patient (and) ask questions," Hinderliter said. "It's like a regular exam, just that our physician is on a screen and not right in front of you."
The third floor features virtual care, including a nurse triage unit that serves around 10,000 patients a week all through video visits and Bluetooth technology.
"It can be anywhere from you need to schedule an appointment, to we need to call 911 because you need immediate attention, to somewhere in the middle - where you could be seen at the office the next day, in three days, in four hours," said Jennie Van Antwerp, contact center director for OSF Healthcare.
Health leaders say virtual care is the way of the future, and a way for patients to skip the line for an appointment - and maybe even a hospital visit.
"It's really giving them an extended care team. And giving them all those resources that may not be available in their area," Hinderliter said.
For more information, visit www.osfhealthcare.org/oncall/.