Are you having back pain with any of the following?
We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.
We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.
Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.
Welcome to My Doctor Online, a web site that my colleagues and I developed to make it easier for you to take care of your healthcare needs. On this site you will find answers to many of your questions about my clinical practice. Also included are several online features that will allow you to e-mail me, check your laboratory results and refill prescriptions. I hope you find its content informative and useful.
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Here are answers to some common questions you may have about your care with Family Medicine.
Family Medicine is a specialty devoted to comprehensive health care to people of all ages. It is based on the knowledge of the patient in the context of the family and the community, emphasizing disease prevention and health promotion. Family Physicians spend a minimum of 3 years after medical school in residency training which includes caring for newborns, children, adults and geriatric patients both in the office and in the hospital. The training includes Women’s Health and many office procedures. Some family physicians pursue additional training in Adolescent Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Sleep Medicine or Sports Medicine. Depending on practice location or personal preference family physicians may limit their practice to adults and or older children.
Physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants may practice in Family Medicine. Nurse practitioners are nurses with advanced education and licenses that allow them to diagnose and manage medical conditions within their specialty. Physician assistants are licensed to work under the supervision of a physician.
You can browse through the professional and personal profiles of family physicians on this Web site. Our Choose your Doctor page will allow you to find physicians in your area. You can also see whether a physician is fluent in your primary language. Talk to your friends or to another physician you see at Kaiser Permanente; they might recommend a physician in your area.
If you are pregnant, it’s a good idea to investigate which pediatricians or family medicine physicians would be a good fit for your family. If you have older children who have a particular physician, your new baby should be able to see the same one or you can choose someone new if you prefer.
After the birth of your baby, you will be assigned a medical record number for the baby and can choose your pediatric or family medicine provider. If you do not have a specific preference for a particular provider, someone in the pediatric or family medicine department can help you choose.
How often you come in for a visit is something you and your personal physician can discuss. Depending on your age and whether you have a chronic condition, you may need screening tests or immunizations. We feel it's very important to get all the preventive care you need. From birth until age 2, well care visits are generally scheduled every few months. As you age, the frequency may change and depends on whether you have a chronic condition or need screening tests or immunizations.
From birth until age 2, well care visits are generally scheduled every few months. Once your child turns 2, we'll see you for well care visits every year or two until age 18.
These visits help us make sure your children are growing and developing, and getting the care they need to stay healthy. Well check visits are also an opportunity for you to talk with your physician about questions you may have about your child's health and well being.
We recommend that you bring your child in for routine well visits at the following ages. Note: Your physician may recommend a slightly different schedule, based on your child's individual health needs.
In many of our medical centers, we offer special newborn clubs or clinics just for new families. Services include newborn exams, breastfeeding support, newborn care information and advice, and immediate access to physicians as needed.
2 days (see newborns, above)
21 to 24 months
4 to 5 years
5 to 6 years
6 to 8 years
8 to 10 years
10 to 12 years
Every 1 to 2 years, based on your child's doctor or nurse practitioner's advice.
Generally, we encourage women to come in for a well-woman check-up every 1 to 2 years, but this can vary:
If you're under 25 and sexually active, you should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases every year. This can be done during a check-up with your Ob/Gyn doctor or with a general medicine doctor.
Pap tests for cervical cancer screening should begin at age 21. If your Pap results are normal, you can wait as long as 3 years between tests. You can stop having Pap and HPV tests if you are over 65 and have had either three or more normal Pap tests in the past 10 years and/or you are HPV negative. You can also stop having Pap tests if you have had a total hysterectomy (where your cervix was also removed) and you have no history of cancer of the cervix, vulva, or vagina.
If you are 40 or over, and you have no personal or family history of breast cancer, you should come in for a clinical breast exam and a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.
If you have risk factors for breast cancer, you should talk to your physician about when to begin regular screening.
Many parents have questions about immunizations. We encourage you to be informed so you'll feel confident vaccinating your child.
We are dedicated to providing you with answers you can trust and links to unbiased information. Stay up to date with all recommended immunizations and you'll know your child is protected.
Check to see what immunizations your child needs with our personalized online Preventive Services. This summary can help you stay up to date with you and your family's recommended immunizations and screening tests.
This is a secure online feature and requires that you have an active password for our member site and be authorized to use the Act for a Family Member feature.
We recommend that you start by choosing a personal physician. You can browse through the professional and personal profiles of family physicians on this web site. Our Choose your Doctor page will allow you to find physicians in your area. You can also see whether a physician is fluent in your primary language. You can also call Member Services to select a personal physician.
You can make or cancel routine appointments and view future appointments anytime at kp.org/appointments or by using the appointments link on the left-hand side of my home page. (To register for access to this feature, just click the “register now” link when prompted after clicking on the Appointments link).
To schedule routine and urgent care appointments by phone, call our 24-hour Appointment and Advice line. Whether you schedule online or by phone, you will need to have your or your family member’s Medical Record Number handy. This number is on your or your family member’s Health Plan card.
Depending on the symptoms, you may have the option to schedule a telephone appointment with your physician or a trusted colleague. If you would prefer a telephone appointment, please let the Appointment and Advice line representative or advice nurse know when you call. Your doctor will call you at an agreed upon time, at whichever phone number is most convenient for you. Many people like the convenience of this option, but if you prefer to be seen in person, it’s always your choice.
You can always call our Appointment and Advice line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained advice nurses are available to address questions any time and can help determine what type of care you or your family members may need.
Our advice nurses can send a message directly to your doctor or nurse practitioner. They can also help you make an appointment with your doctor, or a trusted colleague.
For some concerns, depending on the symptoms and your preferences, the advice nurse may offer you a telephone appointment with your doctor or a trusted colleague. Many people like this option, but if you prefer an in- person appointment, be sure to let the representative or advice nurse know.
Advice nurses are registered nurses with special training in working with members over the telephone. They work using guidelines developed by Kaiser Permanente physicians, and they work with pediatricians who help staff the Advice line. If special circumstances or very urgent concerns arise, they will consult a physician to help decide on the best course of action to address your concerns.
You may reach me by calling our 24-hour Appointment and Advice line or by sending us a secure nonurgent message from the links on the left-hand side of this page. If you do not yet have a kp.org account, just click “Register Now” when prompted. I will respond within 2 business days if I am not away from the office. Please e-mail nonurgent concerns only. For urgent concerns, call the 24-hour Appointment and Advice line.
For any genuine medical emergencies, you should call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.
Yes. You can send secure, confidential e-mail to your doctor at any time during the day, night, or on weekends. We are usually able to respond to your messages within 2 business days if not away from the office. Since we may not be in the office all the time, it's best to contact our Appointment and Advice line with any urgent concerns.
If you are a member and want to email about your child who is under 18, you can do so by signing up for Act for a Family Member. Once activated, you can e-mail your family's doctors or nurse practitioners with non-urgent questions or concerns any time, day or night, and hear back within 2 business days.
Special note for parents of teens: As KP members, you and your teen can both sign up to send secure e-mails to your teen's doctors and other members of their team. (Teens can set up their own kp.org accounts starting at age 13.) Please be aware that this is a transparent form of communication between family members and your teen's doctors. This means that you and your teen will be able to see each other's messages and replies from your teen's doctors. For any information that you want kept strictly private between you and your teen's doctors, please contact him or her by telephone instead of using secure messaging.
Usually, yes! However, you may not see your own doctor if you want a certain day and/or time for your appointment and your physician is not in the office at that time. You may also see one of my colleagues if you need an urgent or same-day appointment.
You don't need a referral for Health Education, work-related injury/Occupational Medicine, travel clinic, Ob/Gyn, Optometry, or Psychiatry. In addition, if you have seen another specialist within the last 13 months, you can contact them directly by phone or e-mail.
Once you have finalized your travel plans (destination and firm dates), please contact us at least 6 weeks before you plan to leave on your trip. Certain vaccines and medications need several weeks to start working.
For more information about travel clinics, check out the CDC website for Traveler's Health. You can also call the Appointments and Advice phone number for your local Kaiser Permanente facility. You can find this phone number in our facility directory.
You don't need paperwork or an appointment to get a lab test. You can do lab tests ordered by me or another provider at any Kaiser Permanente lab.
Fasting is having nothing to eat or drink except water and any medication you take. It is important to fast for 12 hours before certain tests or procedures. If you have diabetes, check with us before fasting.
Yes. Most of your lab test results will be available for viewing online. Due to privacy concerns and regulations, some may not be. If you do not see the test results you are looking for online, you can call or send an e-mail message to your personal clinician.
You can visit any of our main or satellite pharmacies to fill prescriptions. You can refill prescriptions online through the Prescriptions feature on this site. To refill prescriptions using our mail-order service, fill out the preprinted order forms available at our pharmacies. By telephone, you can call the number on your prescription label. If you order online, by telephone, or by mail order service, you can get most of your refills delivered to your home, postage paid, within 7 to 10 days.
Certain medications such as controlled substances and narcotic pain medications require additional processing time due to prescribing regulations. We recommend you submit requests for these medications at least two business days in advance of when you need them. Walk in requests for most controlled substances and narcotic pain medications will generally not be approved unless authorized by your primary care physician.
If you have no refills left when you place your order, the pharmacy will contact me to request additional refills. Please allow an additional 2 business days to process your order when you have no refills remaining.
Your prescription bottle may say "0" refills, but if you called us in the past for a refill, you may have more refills available. You can check the prescription number online and see how many refills you have, or call us.
To transfer a prescription from a non-Kaiser Permanente pharmacy to any of our pharmacies, simply give your Kaiser Permanente pharmacist your prescription number and the pharmacy’s name and phone number. Your Kaiser Permanente pharmacist will handle the rest. Please allow 2 or more business days to process the transfer.
Radiation is simply waves of energy. There are 2 main types of radiation:
Even so, at lower levels, non-ionizing radiation can have several highly beneficial uses in medical care. For example, we use ionizing radiation in controlled ways to help create diagnostic images, such as X-rays, CT scans, and nuclear scans. Radiation can also in the treatment of some cancers. Our goal is to avoid unnecessary patient exposure.
You cannot avoid radiation entirely. Ionizing radiation comes from cosmic rays that reach us from space, and also from radioactive elements present in rocks and soil. You can minimize your exposure to ionizing radiation, but not eliminate it. The low level of radiation that we are exposed to at all times in our environment is known as “background” radiation.
Most medical X-rays use small amounts of ionizing radiation. A standard chest X-ray, for example, uses approximately the same amount of ionizing radiation as 10 days of natural background radiation, which we are all exposed to in day-to-day life. A mammogram has similar amounts of radiation exposure as 3 months of natural background radiation.
CT scans use more radiation and the amount depends on how much of the body is scanned. For example, a CT scan of the head is equivalent to several months of normal background radiation while a CT scan of the pelvis and abdomen may be similar to several years of natural background radiation. Even then, a CT scan can be life-saving when used appropriately. However, repeated CT scans may increase cancer risk.
In most instances, the diagnostic value of an X-ray or CT scan is considered well worth the small risk associated with the amount of radiation delivered. No single test can significantly increase a person’s lifetime chance of developing cancer. However, if someone has previously had radiation treatments or many CT scans over the course of a lifetime, this can add up to a risk factor that may be taken into account before ordering additional tests and procedures.
We work hard to ensure that our imaging machines only use the lowest effective dose of radiation to get the images we need.
Ask if there are safe alternatives to ordering tests (especially the higher dosage CT scans). If you are tempted to ask your doctor for a test, consider the possible risks. Remember that in many conditions the test results are unlikely to change the treatment. And many tests show unimportant abnormalities that may require additional testing and even more unnecessary radiation exposure.
If a diagnostic test is strongly recommended, it is done so with good reason. For example, the small radiation exposure of regular mammograms in women may save lives by detecting early, curable breast cancer. We will work closely with you to help make sure you get only the essential tests you need, and help you avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.
No. Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves not X-rays or ionizing radiation. The ultrasound cannot harm an unborn baby during pregnancy.
In general, X-ray exposure from a single diagnostic procedure does not result in harmful effects to the baby. This is also true if you receive an X-ray before you know you are pregnant. However, we make every effort to avoid any X-ray procedures in women who are pregnant. If you continue to have concerns, be sure to discuss these concerns with us.
Nuclear scans involve swallowing or injecting a tiny amount of radioactive material that acts as a tracking dye or coloring inside the body. The radioactivity allows a special camera to detect abnormalities or problems in targeted areas of the body such as bones or organs. The amount of ionizing radiation in a typical dose of nuclear medicine is very small and passes through the body in a few days.
Certain types of nuclear medicine may affect a mother’s breast milk for a short period of time, typically 24 to 72 hours. Many lactating mothers use a breast pump before a nuclear imaging study so that they can bottle feed breast milk to their babies for a few days following a nuclear medicine test.
The type of radiation used to destroy cancer cells is ionizing radiation. During treatments the radiation is focused as much as possible on the cancer cells and avoids healthy tissue. However, there is some risk that radiation therapy may increase a person’s chances for developing a second cancer years later or other problems.
Current evidence suggests that cell phone use does not pose a significant health hazard in terms or radiation exposure. Radio waves, power lines, cell phones, cell phone towers, TV screens, computer monitors, and microwave ovens all emit low-frequency, non-ionizing radiation, which is not considered a health hazard.
Airport security scanners emit a very tiny amount of ionizing radiation – about one-thousandth of a standard chest X-ray. Ionizing radiation may be used to kill harmful germs on irradiated food, but the food itself does not remain radioactive.
Cigarettes and tobacco products, however, do contain low levels of ionizing radiation that come from the soil, and may significantly increase smokers’ exposure to radiation over time.
No, because the sun’s ultraviolet rays – which are the ones that can potentially cause skin cancer – are not strong enough to penetrate through the skin. However, ultraviolet radiation used in tanning beds and sun lamps can increase the risk of skin cancer.
No. Iodine pills (also known as potassium iodide) decrease or even shut down thyroid function, which can cause many problems. If an emergency situation arises, health officials will advise the public about the best and safest ways to prevent radiation exposure.
We can help you keep track of your family's health, from the convenience of your own computer, 24/7.
With My Health Manager on kp.org, you can e-mail your doctor, find results of most lab tests, schedule and cancel routine appointments, view future appointments, view past office visit information, refill prescriptions, view immunization records, view eligibility and benefit information, act for a child or other family member, and take advantage of health tools, resources, and information online. To register for access, click on any of the features under Stay Connected with Your Doctor on the left hand side of my homepage and click “register now” when prompted or visit kp.org/register.
To Act for a Family Member: Click on the “Act for a family member” link on the left hand side of this page to get started.
Whether you have a tot or a teen, we encourage you to sign up for one or more of our free online newsletters for parents.
Created by Kaiser Permanente pediatricians and health educators, each newsletter is full of quality health information and links to resources that make it easier to manage your family's health.
How does it work? The newsletters are timed to your child's age and stage. Once you sign up, each newsletter is delivered directly to your e-mail in-box. It's an easy way to stay connected to your child's pediatrician and take advantage of all our online resources.
To protect your child's personal information, you will have access to act for your child for 2 years, or until your child turns 18. After 2 years, your access will automatically expire.
If your child is still under age 18, you will need to renew your access. We regret the inconvenience, but this 2 year limit helps protect your child's medical record and ensures that we can protect member privacy and prevent unauthorized use.