Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

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.

Provider photo for Qinghua Zhu

Qinghua Zhu, MD

Internal Medicine

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.

My Offices

San Mateo Medical Offices
Appt/Advice: 650-358-7015

See all office information »

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Common Questions About Internal Medicine

Here are answers to some common questions you may have about the Medicine department.

What is Internal Medicine?

Physicians in Internal Medicine provide comprehensive care for adults ages 18 and over. This includes preventive care, care for acute illnesses, and ongoing care for chronic conditions. Some physicians in Internal Medicine have a subspecialty such as infectious diseases or geriatrics.

What specialists work in the Internal Medicine department?

Internal Medicine physicians, family medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants may practice in the Internal Medicine department. Internal Medicine physicians specialize in treating adults 18 and over. Family medicine physicians are trained to provide care to people of all ages. 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.

How much training do physicians in Internal Medicine have?

In addition to graduating from medical school, our Internal Medicine and family medicine physicians have completed a 3-year residency training program in internal or family medicine. If they decide to pursue further specialty training, then they complete an additional fellowship. After training is completed, an Internal Medicine or family medicine physician takes an exam in order to become "board certified." This distinguishes the physician as a true specialist in his or her field. Continued certification is achieved through periodic exams and specialized classes throughout the physician's career. All of our internal medicine and family medicine physicians are board certified or are in the process of achieving this designation.

How do I choose a physician in the Internal Medicine department?

You can browse through the professional and personal profiles of physicians in internal medicine 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.

How often should I come in for a visit?

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.

How can I contact my doctor?

You may reach us by calling our 24-hour Appointment and Advice line or by sending us a secure nonurgent message through your account. 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.

Will I always see the same doctor?

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 a new doctor if you need an urgent or same-day appointment.

How do I make an appointment?

You can make or cancel routine appointments and view future appointments anytime at (You must be registered to access these secure features on our Web site. To register, visit To schedule routine and urgent care appointments by phone, call our 24-hour Appointment and Advice line.

Can I review my lab results online?

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.

Can I e-mail my doctor?

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.

How do I refill medications?

Refilling your prescriptions is easy by going to the Refill link on my home page or the Pharmacy Center on  You will need your prescription number and may choose to pick up your medication at any Northern California Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy or have it mailed directly to you at no extra charge.  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.  If you do not know your prescription number you can look that up under the My prescriptions section of the Pharmacy Center.

Even if you prescription says 0 refills on the bottle, the process is still the same.

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 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 need assistance, please call (650) 299-2210 or (650) 299-2234 and ask to speak to a pharmacist to assist you.

What do I do if I'm out of refills?

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.

As a new member, what do I need to do?

We recommend that you start by choosing a personal physician. You can do this online or by phone.

As a new member, how do I transfer a prescription from a provider or pharmacy outside of Kaiser Permanente?

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 two or more working days to process the transfer.

Where/how do I complete labwork?

You don't need paperwork or an appointment to get a lab test. You can do lab tests at any Kaiser Permanente lab.

How do I get a account? What does it provide?

With My Health Manager on, 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. You must be registered to access these secure features on our Web site. To register, visit

What does fasting mean?

Fasting is having nothing to eat or drink except water and any medication you take. It is important to fast before certain tests or procedures. If you have diabetes, check with us before fasting.

Which departments can I call directly for an appointment?

  • For Allergy, call (650) 299-2111.
  • For routine eye exams, call (650) 299-2040 or you may book an appointment online through  For all other appointments involving the eye, call (650) 299-2111.
  • For OBGYN pap, pelvic and breast exams, call (650) 299-2015 or you may book an appointment online through
  • For your Mammogram, call (650) 299-2015 or you may book an appointment online through
  • For a hearing test or hearing aid information, call Audiology at (650) 299-2977.
  • For Psychiatry, call (650) 299-4777.
  • For Chemical Dependency, call (650) 299-4778.
  • For Health Education services, call (650) 299-2433.
  • For Travel Clinic, call (650) 299-2111. This clinic provides information on the vaccines, immunizations and other shots you may need when traveling to remote areas.

If you have seen a specialist within one year for the same reason, no new referral is needed.  Please call that department directly by clicking the additional reference link below.  If you have a NEW problem, you will need a new referral.  If you have questions, please feel free to send me an e-mail.

Additional References:
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