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September 22, 2015

Jefferson will have 24/7 virtual health app during papal week

Patients can consult with a doctor using their computer, tablet or smartphone

All of Philadelphia seems to have Pope Fever as the papal visit nears, but people who develop real fevers this week will have a tough time reaching a hospital.

So from Monday until the end of the pope's visit, Jefferson Health will make its JeffConnect On-Demand Virtual Care app available 24 hours a day, allowing patients to stay home and consult with a doctor over their computer, tablet or smartphone.

The service costs $49 per consultation and is available in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Both residents and visitors can use the app.

"When you’re not sure if what you’re experiencing requires a trip to the hospital, you can call us. We’ll either be able to treat you virtually, or offer other options that may be more convenient for you than an emergency department visit," Dr. Judd Hollander said in a statement.

Doctors can diagnose an illness and prescribe most medications (laws prohibit prescribing certain medications online, including narcotics, muscle relaxants and, oddly enough, erectile dysfunction drugs).

They will also tell the patient whether it's all right to stay home or if they need to go to an emergency room immediately.

After the papal visit is over, physicians will be available through the app from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day.

The app is available through mobile app stores under the name "JeffConnect" and at jefferson.edu/jeffconnect.