University HealthCare Alliance

April 30, 2020

A Ritual of Connection for Virtual Visits


The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the traditional clinic visit for patients and healthcare providers around the world. Healthcare systems are rapidly scaling up telemedicine to reduce risk of infection and protect providers and patients. While these virtual interactions offer critical services, the technology can generate a barrier to the human connection that is central to clinical care.

The Stanford Presence Center, launched in 2015 by Dr. Abraham Verghese, is dedicated to the art and science of human connection. A central mission is to foster research, dialogue, and multidisciplinary collaboration to champion the human experience in medicine, and to produce measurable and meaningful change in health care.

Earlier this year, the Presence 5 team published evidence-based practices to help clinicians foster humanism during clinical encounters. In response to the challenges imposed by COVID-19, the team has now adapted the original Presence 5 practices for telemedicine.

 The following resources are publicly available:

  1. A poster of the Tele-Presence 5 practices to foster meaningful connection with patients during virtual visits
  2. A 10-minute Stanford CME video describing the Tele-Presence 5 practices
  3. KevinMD article that describes opportunities to foster humanism in telemedicine

To stay involved, please share your #TelePresence5 practices on social media and sign-up for additional Presence 5 updates.