Project Summary

This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.

What is the research about?

Patients with serious cancers often have symptoms that affect their quality of life. Palliative care focuses on improving patients’ quality of life by providing relief from the side effects of treatment and symptoms such as pain or anxiety. Palliative care clinicians can also help patients and their families talk about difficult topics, such as care at the end of life.

Patients can benefit from starting palliative care when they are diagnosed with a serious cancer. But many patients with serious cancer do not start palliative care early. Many hospitals and cancer clinics don’t have staff to provide this type of care for all patients. In addition, many patients live too far away to go to a clinic for palliative care visits. Video visits may be one way to provide palliative care to patients who can’t access such care in person. This study is comparing how in-person palliative care versus care given through video visits affects quality of life, mood, and satisfaction with care in patients with advanced lung cancer and their caregivers.

Who can this research help?

Hospital and cancer clinic administrators can use results from this study to plan ways to offer palliative care for patients with cancer.

What is the research team doing?

The research team is working with 20 clinics to enroll 1,250 patients with a recent diagnosis of advanced lung cancer and their caregivers. The team is assigning patients by chance to receive in-person palliative care or care via video visits. Half of the patients and their caregivers have monthly meetings with a palliative care provider at the clinic. The rest of the patients and their caregivers have monthly video visits with a palliative care provider via a smartphone or computer.

Patients may remain in the study for up to five years. The team is comparing

  • Patient quality of life
  • Whether patients who are dying discuss their wishes for care at the end of life with their provider
  • How long patients stay in hospice
  • Whether caregivers attend palliative care visits
  • Patient and caregiver satisfaction with care
  • How patients cope with their disease
  • Patient and caregiver understanding of their diagnosis
  • Patient and caregiver mood

Patients, caregivers, oncology and palliative care providers, and representatives from health systems and insurers are working with the research team to design and implement the study.

Research methods at a glance

Design Elements Description
Design Randomized controlled trial
Population Adults who received a diagnosis of advanced lung cancer in the past 8 weeks, and a relative or friend who lives with the patient or has contact with the patient at least twice per week (optional)
  • Early integrated in-person palliative care
  • Early integrated telemedicine palliative care

Primary: patient quality of life

Secondary: patient and caregiver mood and satisfaction with care, patient communication about preferences for care at the end of life, length of hospice stay, caregiver participation in palliative care visits

Timeframe 6-month follow-up for primary outcome

Engagement Resources

Project Information

Jennifer S. Temel, MD
Joseph Greer, PhD, MS, BS
Massachusetts General Hospital
Comparative Effectiveness of Early Integrated Telehealth Versus In-Person Palliative Care for Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer

Key Dates

August 2017
April 2025

Study Registration Information


Award Type
Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Populations Populations PCORI is interested in research that seeks to better understand how different clinical and health system options work for different people. These populations are frequently studied in our portfolio or identified as being of interest by our stakeholders. View Glossary
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: March 14, 2024