Palliative care through telehealth—interacting with patients and families via telephone and video—offers many benefits to palliative care programs, patients, and clinicians. This toolkit covers all aspects of palliative care telehealth delivery, including selecting the technology platform, setting up a hotline, billing for services, and conducting a visit.

See the "Setting Up a Program" section below to download CAPC's Telehealth Start-Up Guide. For telehealth tools specific to COVID-19, see our COVID-19 Response Resources.

What’s in the Toolkit

These tools provide guidance on selecting a platform, training your clinicians, and operationalizing hotlines and telehealth services.

Telehealth Start-Up Guide

Key components of telehealth service delivery, especially in a home-based palliative care program.

Setting Up a Palliative Care Hotline for Your Hospital or System

Covers hotline service design, staffing and workflow, and considerations if incorporating external palliative care clinicians to staff the hotline.

Sample Trouble Shooting Guide for Clinicians
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Provides suggestions for solving tech problems that may come up via a video visit. Sample orientation for clinicians new to the telehealth platform. Shared by Mount Sinai Health System.

With wide variation in available technology, experience, and comfort levels of patients and families, these tools can assist with patient preparations.

HIMSS Patient Guide to Telemedicine

Provides advice for first-time patients on preparing for virtual health care visits.

AARP Step-by-Step Guide to Using Telemedicine

Provides advice for first-time patients on preparing for virtual health care visits.

Telehealth Start-Up Guide

Key components of telehealth service delivery, especially in a home-based palliative care program.

Suggestions to Address Internet Connectivity

Practical tips and links for improving internet access for patients, especially those in rural areas without sufficient broadband. Courtesy of the Rural Health Information Hub.

These tools cover telehealth visit etiquette, including starting and ending the visit, and conducting a physical examination.

Telehealth At-A-Glance Guidance

Palliative care use cases, team considerations, and tips for virtual visit etiquette. Updated May 12, 2020.

REACH PC Guidance: Responding to Emotion in Telehealth

Tips for acknowledging patient emotions via phone and video.

Palliative Care Telehealth Sample Guidelines

Sample outline for a palliative care visit conducted remotely with audio-visual devices.

Culturally-diverse telehealth services

Description of program at UAB varying telehealth services for African-American and White patients.

Telemedicine: Virtual Connection in an Age of Social Distancing

Dr. Michael Fratkin makes the case for telemedicine and provides tips for the best possible interaction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources on Telechaplaincy

Information from the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab on planning, staffing, and delivering telechaplaincy services.

While not traditional, remote physical exam using audio and video technology is feasible. These resources provide guidance.

Physical Exam by Telehealth
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A list of physical examinations possible via videoconferencing, along with some tips for completing. Courtesy of Mount Sinai Health System.

Compilation of Video Instructions for Telehealth Physical Exams
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A collection of brief videos providing guidance on completing specific examinations over videoconferencing. Courtesy of ResolutionCare and Partnership Health Plan

Medicare and most Medicaid and private health plans are reimbursing telehealth visits more flexibly under the COVID-19 public health emergency. These tools summarize such changes.

Medicare Telehealth Billing During COVID-19

Under the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is allowing Medicare billing for telehealth and telephone encounters. This document is a summary of CMS guidance. Updated May 12, 2020.

Ambulatory CPT Coding during COVID-19
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Guidance on coding and documentation for telehealth visits that replace in-person visits. Courtesy of Mount Sinai Health System.

Palliative Care COVID-19 Note Template

Sample palliative care COVID-19 note template for an EHR. Developed by the Mount Sinai Health System.

Epic Note Template: Telemedicine (Video) Palliative Care Assessment

Sample note for palliative care teams performing telemedicine assessments. Shared by Presbyterian Healthcare Services.

Fast Five: The Fundamentals of Billing for Telehealth in the Age of COVID-19

5-minute video synopsis of video and audio (phone) telehealth documentation and billing practices that apply during COVID-19. Includes who can provide and bill for services, which services are billable, acceptable technology, and recent changes to payment amounts based on site and type of service. Presented by Chris Jones, MD, Director of Outpatient, Non-Oncology Palliative Care at Penn Medicine.

Medicare Flexibilities That Support Palliative Care via Telehealth
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A slide deck that reviews the why, what, and how of Medicare payment for telehealth and telephone encounters during the COVID-19 public health emergency.