The “doctor’s in” has become the “doctor’s online”

Distance Medicine

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, San Joaquin County health professionals have urged patients not to neglect regular appointments or other health concerns for fear of the virus. Instead, they’re encouraging patients to take advantage of virtual medical appointments. Sound like the future? It shouldn’t. This service has been offered by local healthcare providers like Kaiser Permanente and St. Joseph’s Medical Center for years. And, whether it is part of your ongoing treatment or you need to address new medical concerns, virtual appointments can alleviate some of the stress that comes with doctors’ visits in the post pandemic era. 

“Kaiser Permanente has been offering phone and video visits to our patients for well over a decade, and we continue to offer the latest technology and expertise so patients can choose how and when they want to access their care,” says Dr. Hyma Jasti, chief of Adult & Family Medicine for the Kaiser Permanente Central Valley service area. And while this service is nothing new, since the start of the pandemic, online appointments have skyrocketed. “Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of video appointments has increased more than 3,000% throughout Northern California, with numbers continuing to increase each month,” she says. “Many patients say video visits are convenient because they can get the care they need from the comfort of their home.”

Dr. Ahad Yousuf, program manager at San Joaquin General Hospital agrees. “Traveling to a clinic office location can be challenging, or even an impossibility, for individuals who lack transportation, those who cannot miss work, or secure childcare… Telemedicine has proven to be a key solution going forward.”

These appointments save patients time and stress. Not only do you save yourself a trip, but in some cases your primary care doctor and specialists can both participate in your virtual appointment, helping streamline treatment even further. If needed, patients are able to request a translator during their virtual appointment and family members can also join. And, of course, if there are any technical problems, the staff will know what to do to trouble shoot the problem and get the appointment back on track. “Our patients are utilizing telehealth appointments for multiple specialties, including adult primary care, mental health, pediatrics, orthopedics, dermatology, and more,” Dr. Jasti says. “We are focused on continuing to make improvements to our telehealth options as we recognize virtual care will continue to be utilized by our patients long after the pandemic is over.”

At St. Joseph’s Medical Center, a dedicated system has been set up, explains Communications Manager Jennifer Jones. “Those seeking virtual doctor visits are redirected to Dignity Health Medical Group physicians, some of whom are accepting new patients and offer virtual appointments.”

Book a virtual appointment

Doctor’s Hospital of Manteca
(888) 680-1431

Kaiser Permanente
(866) 454-8855

San Joaquin General Hospital
(209) 468-6000

St. Joseph’s Medical Center
(855) 356-8053