One Member’s Success with Tera: Virtual-first Primary Care

Apr 20, 2022 | 2022, Digital Health, People

At a lively 71 years old, Bay Area resident and Sutter Health Plus member Otis Griffin receives health benefits through his long-time employer SerraMonte Volkswagon. For much of his life, seeing a healthcare provider only existed through in-person visits. Today, Otis is finding success in achieving many of his wellness goals by embracing a virtual-first approach to primary care called Tera Practice.

With Tera, Sutter Health Plus members in select communities have access to a personalized care team, including a primary care physician (PCP), an advance practice clinician, a nurse, and a registered dietitian, who provide virtual care through My Health Online and offer in-person appointments* as needed. Otis hopes that by sharing his experience with Tera, he can inspire others who may be hesitant about receiving virtual care.

“Historically, an in-person doctor visit was my preference because I liked one-on-one care in a traditional office setting with a clinician. Tera offered me the ability to see my doctor through video without having to leave home, so I decided to give it a chance.”

After a few in-person visits with Dr. Yumi Taylor, the founding clinician of Tera, Otis says that he was ready to try a virtual visit with a Tera health coach.

“Because Dr. Taylor helped me feel comfortable and confident in her type of care, I put my trust and faith in her,” Otis shared.

Since signing up with Tera, Otis is increasingly optimistic and engaged in managing his health. He says that he is making headway with some of his health goals, including improving his mental well-being. He also began one-on-one coaching with his care team’s registered dietician to develop a plan for healthier eating habits.

“I have a few health issues with hypertension and high cholesterol,” Otis shared. “At my age, I figure it’s prudent to start working on some healthy lifestyle changes. Dr. Taylor and team are really helping me with that.”

From hypertension control to cancer care to life expectancy, Dr. Taylor says that the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community has experienced gaps in positive health outcomes due in part to a lack of trust in the health system. She says that building rapport over time with Otis on his terms helped to open a conversation about addressing his health needs and accessing care in a new way.

“I recognized from our first conversation that he wasn’t quite ready to get started with virtual primary care. He later shared that this was related to trust issues,” says Dr. Taylor. “I am thrilled to see that Otis is now embracing Tera’s full-service virtual care features, like messaging with me and personal coaching for chronic disease and behavioral health management.”

Otis enjoys the conveniences of virtual care, including a direct connection to his care team with 24/7 messaging through My Health Online, at no extra cost.

“One of the best things about Tera is the time savings. I don’t have to drive to a doctor’s office, find parking, and spend time in a waiting room. I mostly communicate with my care team through online messaging and it’s a simple process. I’ve also had some virtual appointments through telephone and video, and that’s been going well.”

Otis says he has developed a true connection with Dr. Taylor and the entire care team, something he once thought only possible exclusively in person.

Getting Started with Tera
Interested Sutter Health Plus members can select a Tera PCP by logging into their Member Portal and clicking the Change PCP link at the top of the page, or by calling Member Services at 1-855-315-5800. To learn more, visit sutterhealthplus.org/terapractice.

*Please note, if the Tera provider a member selects does not have an office in their local community, the member may need to travel for an in-person appointment. Members may also be able to see another Sutter provider closer to home.