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Oak Ridge, TN Embraces a Healthy Future

New initiatives ensure that patients receive top-notch care in East Tennessee.

By Lauren Caggiano on July 23, 2021

Oak Ridge, TN
Don Dudenbostel

When it comes to maintaining your overall health, taking preventative measures, such as getting regular physical activity and eating well, and receiving quality and responsive medical care when issues arise are both important.>

Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, TN offers both, from community programming meant to support one’s health and well-being to cutting-edge clinical services you might expect in a much larger city.

Quality Meets Convenience

Health – and its importance – was top of mind for many in 2020, as the world faced the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, Covenant Health — of which Methodist is a member hospital — launched several new initiatives.

For example, “Helen,” an interactive chat assistant, was created to help people navigate COVID-19 and other medical questions without having to leave home. Helen guides users through a symptom checker and advises on next steps for care. The tool also connects them with nurses who can answer specific care questions and schedule telehealth appointments with a medical provider.

The ability for patients to “visit” medical providers remotely via phone or computer expanded exponentially during 2020 with telehealth care. During virtual appointments, the provider can assess the patient, order testing if needed and prescribe medications and treatment.

Connectivity at Home

That convenience factor extends to the MyCovenantHealth app, a secure platform that patients can use to access health information, communicate with providers, request prescription refills and more. There are four different ways to enroll, and it can be connected with other health apps.

“We’re very excited to offer these types of digital services,” says Dr. Mandy Halford, Covenant Health senior vice president and chief medical informatics officer. “In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, we worked diligently to create innovative solutions that allow our patients to connect with their care team from the comfort of their home.”

Oak Ridge, TN
Don Dudenbostel


These new forms of care show that Methodist is meeting people where they are — figuratively and literally. That philosophy is also evident when you consider that Methodist has one of the region’s most comprehensive health education programs for patients, their families and the community at large.

While many of the center’s classes and activities are tailored for young families, its reach is greater than this demographic. It also offers health management classes and support groups for adults of all ages.

Debbie Slack is among those in the area who has benefited from Methodist’s resources. Her cancer diagnosis was made especially difficult by the pandemic, but, fortunately, she had resources such as Methodist’s “Take on Cancer Together” programming available for support.

“It was so helpful to meet others who were dealing with similar situations and emotions,” she says. “I also learned so much – things about relaxation, stress, good nutrition; subjects you think you know about but realize with cancer there’s so much more to understand.”

From topics surrounding pain management, a positive mindset, healthy eating and recovery resources, the “Take on Cancer Together” series provides new material every other month. It currently offers classes in a virtual format.

Many services, however, have fully resumed in person, providing participants with one-on-one and group connections – all with safety protocols in place.

Timothy King, of Oak Ridge, has also benefited from the services the hospital provides. After his total knee replacement, King did his outpatient rehab at Methodist Therapy Services.

“Right from the start, they set the expectations, assisted me in determining the best at-home exercises and tailored their therapeutic efforts to fit my personal needs,” he says. “They did not use a pre-established, one-size-fits-all approach. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I can’t wait to get my right knee done, because I get to go back to therapy!”

Want to learn more about living in Oak Ridge? Check out the latest edition of Livability Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

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