A new care option offers a mix of in-person and virtual visits, supported by an at-home toolkit.
When Karissa Yoakum found out she was pregnant with her third child, she and her husband were excited.
“We’ve always wanted to add a third child to our family,” Yoakum said.
But with just 2 months until the opening of her new hair salon, Yoakum was also nervous. She worried about finding time for prenatal appointments — and bringing her 2 young children along.
Then, her ob-gyn, Emily West, MD, told her about an option that would let her do some of her prenatal visits by video.
“I was instantly interested because of my busy lifestyle and knowing that I could actually save some time,” Yoakum said.
To support the video visits, Yoakum received an at-home toolkit. The kit included a fetal heart rate monitor, a blood pressure monitor, and a scale.
The blood pressure monitor and scale paired with an app on Yoakum’s phone that sent readings to her care team via her electronic health record.
Members who choose this care option still get in-person care at key moments during their pregnancies. They also go in for procedures like lab tests, vaccinations, and ultrasounds.
Members can ask that a video visit be changed to an in-person appointment at any time — or decide they want to have all their appointments in person.
Dr. West says her patients appreciate the feeling of empowerment that comes with taking a more active role in their care.
“If they aren’t feeling well or have a headache, they can check their blood pressure without having to make a trip to my office,” she said.
Yoakum is now the mom of a healthy baby girl. She’s grateful for the flexibility that video appointments provided.
“Every hour is so precious. I want to make sure I am spending it the best way possible,” she said.
Learn more about maternity care at Kaiser Permanente.