TELEHEALTH VISITS

Effective Date: 
Wed, 04/01/2020
Reviewed: 
Tue, 08/10/2021
Revised: 
Tue, 08/10/2021
Policy: 

PURPOSE
To outline the process by which UCSC clinicians will provide telehealth services.
SCOPE
This policy applies to all UCSC clinical employees.
DEFINITION
Telehealth: the remote assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of
telecommunications technology. Such services can be provided by telephone or interactive video (e.g. zoom).
POLICY
1. To ensure greater access to care and to offer additional options for patients to receive care, UCSC clinical
providers are encouraged to provide telehealth services.
2. Providers will assess, diagnose and treat those conditions which can be safely managed with a
remote visit. Patients with problems which are deemed to require an in-person appointment will
be instructed to make an in-person appointment.
3.  Video is the preferred method of telemedicine delivery. Telephone will be utilized only in
circumstances in which video is not technologically feasible.
4. Video appointments will be conducted using HIPAA-compliant Zoom technology.
5. Patients will consent to telehealth services prior to or at the beginning of the appointment.
6. Patient identification will be verified using two forms of identifiers.
7.  All telehealth encounters will be documented in the electronic medical record.
8. Providers will document whether the encounter was done via telephone or video in the chart note.
9. Providers will use encounter codes that reflect the remote nature of the encounter.

Procedure: 

1. All patients who schedule a telehealth appointment will be scheduled for a video or telephone visit with a UCSC clinical provider.

2. The clinician will ensure that they are located in a private space, and that the conversation with the patient cannot be heard by third parties.

3. The clinician will verify that consent for telehealth services has been completed by the patient. If the consent was not completed prior to the appointment, the clinician will obtain verbal consent at the start of the encounter. The consent will be documented in the electronic medical record.

4. The clinician will verify the patient's identity using two identifiers.

5. The clinician conducts the appointment and documents the encounter in the electronic medical record.

6. The clinician may view any pictures which the patient elects to send through the patient portal.

7. If the clinician feels that the patient’s medical complaint cannot be safely managed via telehealth, the clinician will instruct a member of the clinical support team to schedule the patient for an in-person encounter.

8. The provider will code the encounter with an E&M code that reflects whether the encounter was conducted via telephone or video.

9. If the patient does not present to the appointment at the time of the appointment, the clinician will contact the patient via text or phone call. If the patient does not present to the appointment within 10 minutes of the appointment time, the clinician will document the visit as a "no show" and will send a secure message to the patient to reschedule the appointment.