Virtual Health

Please note that as things change rapidly, Q&As and guidelines will be updated. Review this website often to ensure you have the most up to date information or consult your leader if you have concerns or identify discrepancies. 

What Virtual Health options can I use? 

Clinicians are encouraged to use the tools they already may have. This includes the telephone, Zoom, FaceTime, Skype for Business, email and SMS (text messaging). 

PHC currently supports three Virtual Health Tools – Zoom, FaceTime and Skype for Business

Licensed Zoom accounts are being provisioned for clinical visits which have enhanced security and functionality. For corporate and meeting communications, please continue to use Skype for Business.

As of April 14, Information Management/Information Technology Services (IMITS) has upgraded PHC’s internet capacity to facilitate virtual health (video) clinical visits using the PHC/VCH network. 

Your options are:

  • Use a corporate/PHC desktop/laptop and the 'VCH' Wi-Fi network
  • Use your personal device and the 'VCH staff' Wi-Fi network.
How can I use email and SMS (text messaging) with patients?

For both SMS and email:

  • Authenticate the identity of the intended recipient prior to communicating.
  • Limit patient identifiers if possible.

For SMS:

  • Follow the Providence Health Care texting policy, which you can find here
  • Use the ‘native’ text messaging application that comes installed on your phone, not one you’ve downloaded.

For email:

  • Follow the Providence Health Care emailing policy, which you can find here
  • Where available, staff must use a PHC email address to conduct PHC business. Email addresses issued by another health organization or trusted institution may also be used, based on where the staff member primarily works.
Is written patient privacy consent required? 
No. Documented verbal patient consent is required. Document in the patient’s chart.
How can I use Zoom for virtual visits? 
Please click here to access user guides and other information about Zoom. 
Is the licensed version of Zoom secure to use?

The configuration settings of the licensed versions of PHC ZOOM for Healthcare instances have been updated as of April 02. These changes have been implemented to enhance security.

Some of these changes will affect the user experience, including:

  • Passwords are now required for all virtual meetings. Please update meeting invitations for upcoming meetings that were scheduled prior to April 03.
  • Virtual Health Visits can no longer be recorded
  • Integration with Google calendar, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox is disabled
  • File transfer is disabled
  • Annotations during Virtual Health Visits are turned off

For the following, the default settings have been changed, but can still be adjusted by the user:

  • The virtual “Waiting Room” for Virtual Health Visits is enabled
  • Screen sharing will be restricted to the Host
  • Participants will not be able to save chat messages

Virtual Health processes and training documents will be updated accordingly. Read the other Zoom resources on this webpage or contact your program operation leader for information on integrating Virtual Health in the program service delivery model.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at virtual or email the service desk.

This info was included in an April 03 IMITs Advisory.

How can I use FaceTime for virtual visits?
  • Available on Apple devices.
  • Documented verbal patient consent is required.
  • Note: the patient can access the physician's phone number, even if the “do not show my ID” option is selected.
  • User guides are below.

SOP Facetime use - clinical (PDF)
Patient notice: Use of Skype or FaceTime (PDF)
FaceTime patient guide (PDF)

How can I use Skype for Business for virtual visits? 

User guides are below.

Planning to offer virtual visits via Skype for Business
Conducting virtual visits via Skype for Business
Skype for Business virtual visit Q and A for patients

Click here for additional information about Skype for Business.

How can I use for virtual visits? has been requested as a more user friendly option for patients. does not require patients to download any applications and is easily accessed by clicking on a link sent in an email. 

A short privacy and security review indicated that there appears to be minimal risk to personal information as does not store any patient personal information from the virtual health session.  Therefore, has been added to the Virtual Health Toolbox.

Recommendations for Using

  • Review these resources from the Doctors Technology Office: Video Tutorials | Webinar Recording | PPT Slides (PDF)
  • Develop written guidelines for using for your clinic/dept.
  • Identify responsibilities to ensure compliance to applicable PHC policies (e.g. email).
  • Provide the Patient Notice: Using a Video Appointment to Communicate with your Health Care Provider, by email, and obtain patient consent prior to setting up the appointment. (Find the patient notice here.)
  • Document consent in the patient’s record.  Verbal consent is acceptable.
  • Disable/avoid use of Screenshare and Filetransfer extensions of
  • Do not record the sessions.
  • Avoid sharing any personal health information through text chat functionality.
Virtual Health Policy
How do you use CST Cerner for Telehealth/Virtual Visits?

For CST Cerner live sites, CST Cerner remains the electronic health record for documentation of telehealth and virtual patient visits.  If your clinical area/clinic currently registers and schedules patients for ambulatory visits and documentation is currently performed in CST Cerner, these functions extend to virtual encounters.  Virtual visits should be captured appropriately in CST Cerner as this provides for better statistical tracking of usage, correct charge capture, and archiving of documentation.

Regardless of what telehealth/virtual platform you use, the patient encounter should be scheduled in CST Cerner in order for you to document into the electronic chart and for the encounter to be captured for hospital reporting.

Scheduling Clerk or MOA with Scheduling Privilege:

An outpatient or pre-outpatient encounter can be flipped to a telehealth encounter:

  • At the time of the virtual visit, the scheduler/MOA should “check-in” the patient by changing the pre-outpatient encounter to an active encounter (telephone consult, etc.)
  • If the provider and/or clerk are off-site this may require additional coordination.

A new telehealth encounter can be created:

  • If no pre-outpatient encounter exists, it can be created, or a telehealth encounter can be created immediately prior to the expected virtual visit – by a scheduling clerk or MOA with scheduling privileges.  Instructions here.
  • Future clinics should continue to be scheduled in the usual way (by creating pre-outpatient encounters).


Virtual visit can be conducted through whichever modality is most appropriate for the circumstances (telephone, Skype for Business, Facetime, Zoom, etc.).  See PHC Med Staff website for information on different platforms.

  • Ensure you are using the correct Telehealth Encounter (for the specified date and clinic location – as the patient may have multiple encounters of this type) – using your “Ambulatory Organizer” will help you by selecting the correct encounter.
  • Verbal consent to use telehealth is required as some platforms maintain their servers out of the country.  Consent should be documented in the note.  An autotext (,,telehealth) is available in dynamic documentation to facilitate this consent.
  • Conduct your interview/assessment of the patient.  Document using the same forms, document templates as you use in the usual outpatient setting. 
  • When signing/saving your dynamic documentation, you may change the Document Type to “Televisit Note” in order to have the document filed distinctly from the outpatient clinic notes.  This is optional and based on your preference, but you are encouraged to do so, as you will be able to better differentiate which visits were seen in person versus virtually. QRG available here.

Report to the scheduling clerk which patients were seen virtually so that they can “complete” the encounter in Cerner.

Can I electronically fax prescriptions?

Please click here to access information about electronic faxing.

What are Providence’s guidelines for teleworking? 
Please view the guidelines here. 
Who do I contact when I have questions about using Virtual Health? 


This page last updated May 21, 2020 11:19am PDT