Big Rapids, Michigan, resident Alice Nunn visits her sleep specialist via MedNow at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital.
Big Rapids, Michigan, resident Alice Nunn visits her sleep specialist via the Spectrum Health app at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital. The telemedicine capability saved Alice from having to find a ride to Grand Rapids. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

When Alice Nunn first saw the Spectrum Health app, she couldn’t see herself ever using technology like that.

“The technology was just so far advanced. I thought, ‘That’s just too technical for me. I don’t think I could handle that,’” Nunn said. “And besides, I wouldn’t be talking to an actual human face.”

But when the Big Rapids, Michigan, resident scheduled an appointment with her sleep specialist, she was offered an appointment on the Spectrum Health app.

She could either travel to Grand Rapids to see her doctor in person or go to the nearby Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital and see her doctor virtually using the video service.

“I had gone to Grand Rapids a few times in the past, but I don’t drive, so I would have to find a ride,” Nunn said. “I would have to inconvenience somebody, spend a lot of money for gas and make sure I got there on time. That was difficult.”

Living a mile from Big Rapids Hospital, and with some unresolved sleep issues that she needed to discuss with her provider, Alice reluctantly agreed to see her doctor via the Spectrum Health app.

When she arrived for her appointment, Nunn was escorted to a room in the specialty clinics at Big Rapids Hospital, where she saw the technology for a second time.

She sat in the chair closest to the door, admittedly nervous about the experience.

A medical assistant checked Nunn’s heart rate, blood pressure and took her vitals.

She entered those results into Alice’s medical record for the provider in Grand Rapids to review. The results instantly became available for her sleep specialist Ravichand Madala, MD.

When Dr. Madala appeared on the screen in front of her, her fears were put to rest.

“I saw Dr. Madala and he asked me how I was doing on my CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure),” Nunn said. “I was able to see his face clearly and talk to him directly and it just flowed. I told him that I was having a little bit of trouble getting enough air, and that I had a dry mouth when I woke up.”

Dr. Madala suggested two adjustments to Alice’s CPAP machine and his office faxed a prescription to a medical supplier on the Big Rapids Hospital campus. Alice had her CPAP adjusted directly after her appointment and left ready for a restful night’s sleep.

“I sure slept well that night,” Nunn said.

Looking back, the experience went better than she anticipated.

“I felt natural talking to him,” she said. “When I first heard about (it), I thought, ‘I’d never do that…’ but now that I’ve done it, I realize what an advantage it is. I’d do it again.”