All About Telehealth and How It Can Help You or a Loved One

You’ve probably heard a lot about telehealth, or the ability to have doctor appointments via phone and video chat. Now, more than ever, doctors have been making it available to their patients. 

If you or a loved one are living with a serious illness, telehealth is a great way to have regular appointments with your palliative care team and keep in touch regularly. You may first need to visit the doctor in person, but after that, you may be able to do most of your visits from where you’re most comfortable—at home.  

Not having to drive to an appointment is a big bonus. Plus, telehealth allows you to choose from many more doctors than you would typically have access to. For example, if you live in a rural area, you may be able to see a doctor who is normally a 3-hour drive away. With telehealth, you can make an appointment, log in on a mobile device, tablet, or computer, and connect to them in just a few minutes. 

If you or a loved one have a device with a connection to the internet, here is how to make the most of your appointment:  

Check your insurance for telehealth coverage

Make sure to check with your insurance company before making a telehealth appointment so you don’t get a surprise bill in the mail. Ask if they cover video and/or audio visits.

Talk to the doctor’s office

Depending on what your insurance company says, ask your doctor’s office if they can accommodate you based on the insurance coverage and technology you have. For instance, if you don’t have a device with a camera, your doctor may be able to do an audio-only visit, but you’d need to check with their office to see if that’s possible. Also, some office policies state they need to see you in person for the first visit or specific concerns. 

Get ready for your appointment

Before your telehealth appointment, make sure that the device you are calling in on is connected to the internet and works well. Find a quiet spot where you can talk comfortably. 

During your appointment

When your appointment starts, treat it like a regular doctor’s visit. Your doctor is there to help. Ask any questions you have and share how you have been feeling. Also, feel free to include anyone who would regularly come with you to an in-person visit.

About is an online resource for patients and families that focuses solely on providing information on palliative care from the point of diagnosis. At you can take a short quiz to see whether you or a loved one could benefit from palliative care. The Palliative Care Provider Directory can help you find a program in your area. The site is provided by the Center to Advance Palliative Care.