Dr. Lisa Finkelstein speaks with Renay Baldes, of Dubois, over a video chat application from St. John’s Medical Center.

Seeing your doctor over Facetime may have at one time seemed futuristic, but telemedicine is quickly becoming standard practice for busy doctors, especially rural ones whose patients are far-flung.

A Tuesday presentation from St. John’s Medical Center urologist Dr. Lisa Finkelstein will educate patients about what the hospital calls “the benefits of telehealth,” a tool that can let doctors and patients connect without patients visiting a clinic. Finkelstein is the hospital’s medical director of telehealth and the hospital’s first practitioner to see a patient using telehealth, also referred to as telemedicine.

The presentation — from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday at Teton County Library — will give patients the basics of the increasingly popular service. It will discuss how telehealth works, its safety and who is a good candidate for the service.

Though St. John’s had used telehealth in the past to connect patients to out-of-town specialists, Finkelstein’s August 2018 appointment with Renay Baldes was St. John’s first time having one of its own doctors use the service. Baldes lives in Dubois and doesn’t have a car, so telehealth is a valuable tool.

“It’s so much easier if it’s just going to be talking, and I don’t have to physically be there,” Baldes told the Jackson Hole News&Guide at the time. “It’s easier for everybody, especially in the winter. I’m pretty open to experimentation.”

Sandip Ray, program manager for St. John’s telehealth and innovative services, will join Finkelstein to “discuss the ways quality medical care can be delivered to the patient via a smart phone or computer,” St. John’s said in a press release.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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