Research Summary

Dr. Kara Bischoff is the Associate Division Chief for Outpatient Palliative Care and the Medical Director of UCSF's Outpatient Palliative Care Service. She provides palliative care to patients with a range of serious illnesses, including neurologic diseases, heart failure, chronic lung diseases, and cancer. She sees patients in clinic, by video, and in the hospital. In recent years Dr. Bischoff has developed particular expertise in the provision of palliative care to people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), interstitial lung disease, dementia, and cirrhosis. She has published substantially and is a national leader in outpatient palliative for people will illnesses other than cancer.

Dr. Bischoff is seeking to ensure that patients of all demographic groups have equal access to palliative care, and that the palliative care provided at UCSF is inclusive and culturally appropriate for diverse populations. She is also developing a program called Care Plus that systematically and equitably identifies palliative care needs in a population of patients, and routes patients to appropriate supportive services based on the needs that are identified. In the past she has served as the Director of Quality Improvement for the national Palliative Care Quality Network and for UCSF's Palliative Care Service. She continues to lead quality improvement efforts in outpatient palliative care. She also teaches medical students, residents, and fellows.

Dr. Bischoff received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, followed by a residency and chief residency at UCSF in Internal Medicine, and a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, also at UCSF. She is an active member of The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She is a mother, an outdoor enthusiast, and a Bay Area native.


2018 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training, University of California
Chief Residency, 2014 - , University of California, San Francisco
Fellowship, 2014 - , University of California, San Francisco
Residency, 2012 - , University of California, San Francisco
Internship, 2010 - , University of California, San Francisco
MD, 2009 - , Harvard Medical School
BA, 2004 - , Stanford University

Honors & Awards

  • Highest Rated Improvement Initiative for Embedded Palliative Care in ALS, UCSF Health Improvement Symposium, 2021
  • Abstract Achievement Award, American Society of Hematology, 2020
  • Top Doctors Award for Recognition of Excellence, Marin Magazine, 2019
  • Outstanding Achievement of Reducing Unnecessary Utilization, UCSF Value Improvement, 2019
  • Best Commitment to Patient Satisfaction, UCSF Value Improvement, 2018
  • Outstanding Resident Teaching Award, UCSF, 2017
  • Grant Awardee, Stupski Foundation, 2016
  • Case Presentation Poster Award, AAHPM, 2014
  • Quality Week Celebration Award, UCSF, 2014
  • Paper of the Month, Cicely Saunders Institute, 2013
  • Chief Residency, UCSF, 2012-2013
  • Quality and Safety Innovation Challenge Award, UCSF, 2012
  • Distinguished Professor of Geriatrics Award, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2011
  • Thayer Award, Harvard Medical School, 2009
  • First Place Clinical Science Oral Presentation, AMA Student Research Forum, 2008
  • Firestone Award for Excellence in Research, Stanford University, 2004

Selected Publications

  1. Bischoff KE, Lin J, Cohen E, O'Riordan DL, Meister S, Zapata C, Sicotte J, Lindenfeld P, Calton B, Pantilat SZ. Outpatient Palliative Care for Noncancer Illnesses: One Program's Experience with Implementation, Impact, and Lessons Learned. J Palliat Med. 2022 Apr 18.  View on PubMed
  2. Bischoff KE, Lin J, Cohen E, O’Riordan D, Meister S, Zapata C, Lindenfeld P, Calton B, Pantilat SZ. . Outpatient Palliative Care for Non-Cancer Illnesses: One Program’s Experience with Implementation, Impact & Lessons Learned. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2022.  View on PubMed
  3. Deng LX, Bischoff KE, Kent DS, O'Riordan DL, Pantilat SZ, Lai JC. Frailty is strongly associated with self-reported symptom burden among patients with cirrhosis. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021 Dec 01; 33(1S Suppl 1):e395-e400.  View on PubMed
  4. Deng LX, Kent DS, O'Riordan DL, Pantilat SZ, Lai JC, Bischoff KE. Symptom Burden Is Associated with Increased Emergency Department Utilization among Patients with Cirrhosis. J Palliat Med. 2022 02; 25(2):213-218.  View on PubMed
  5. Fahrner-Scott K, Zapata C, O’Riordan DL, Cohen E, Rosow L, Pantilat SZ, Lomen-Hoerth C, Bischoff KE. . Embedded Palliative Care for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Pilot Program and Lessons Learned. Neurology Clinical Practice. 2021.  View on PubMed
  6. Bischoff KE, Choi S, Su A, Cohen E, O'Riordan DL, Oettel E, Blachman M, Meister S, Zapata C, Lindenfeld P, Calton B, Witt L, Pantilat SZ, Shah RJ. Better Together: A Mixed-Methods Study of Palliative Care Co-Management for Patients with Interstitial Lung Disease. J Palliat Med. 2021 12; 24(12):1823-1832.  View on PubMed
  7. Calton B, Shibley WP, Cohen E, Pantilat SZ, Rabow MW, O'Riordan DL, Bischoff KE. Patient and Caregiver Experience with Outpatient Palliative Care Telemedicine Visits. Palliat Med Rep. 2020; 1(1):339-346.  View on PubMed
  8. Smith GM, Calton BA, Rabow MW, Marks AK, Bischoff KE, Pantilat SZ, O'Riordan DL. Comparing the Palliative Care Needs of Patients Seen by Specialty Palliative Care Teams at Home Versus in Clinic. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2021 07; 62(1):28-38.  View on PubMed
  9. Calton BA, Bischoff K, Pantilat SZ. "I Just Need to Hold His Hand": Telemedicine Is Powerful, But Not Perfect. J Palliat Med. 2021 02; 24(2):166-167.  View on PubMed
  10. Bischoff KE, Zapata C, Sedki S, Ursem C, O'Riordan DL, England AE, Thompson N, Alfaro A, Rabow MW, Atreya CE. Embedded palliative care for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: a mixed-methods pilot study. Support Care Cancer. 2020 Dec; 28(12):5995-6010.  View on PubMed
  11. Liu AY, O'Riordan DL, Marks AK, Bischoff KE, Pantilat SZ. A Comparison of Hospitalized Patients With Heart Failure and Cancer Referred to Palliative Care. JAMA Netw Open. 2020 02 05; 3(2):e200020.  View on PubMed
  12. Schoenherr LA, Bischoff KE, Marks AK, O'Riordan DL, Pantilat SZ. Trends in Hospital-Based Specialty Palliative Care in the United States From 2013 to 2017. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 12 02; 2(12):e1917043.  View on PubMed
  13. Ufere NN, O'Riordan DL, Bischoff KE, Marks AK, Eneanya N, Chung RT, Jackson V, Pantilat SZ, El-Jawahri A. Outcomes of Palliative Care Consultations for Hospitalized Patients With Liver Disease. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2019 11; 58(5):766-773.  View on PubMed
  14. Bischoff K, Yang E, Kojimoto G, Shepard Lopez N, Holland S, Calton B, Adkins SH, Cheng S, Miller BJ, Rabow MW. What We Do: Key Activities of an Outpatient Palliative Care Team at an Academic Cancer Center. J Palliat Med. 2018 07; 21(7):999-1004.  View on PubMed
  15. Bischoff K, O'Riordan DL, Marks AK, Sudore R, Pantilat SZ. Care Planning for Inpatients Referred for Palliative Care Consultation. JAMA Intern Med. 2018 01 01; 178(1):48-54.  View on PubMed
  16. Bischoff KE, O'Riordan DL, Fazzalaro K, Kinderman A, Pantilat SZ. Identifying Opportunities to Improve Pain Among Patients With Serious Illness. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2018 03; 55(3):881-889.  View on PubMed
  17. Bischoff K, Anderson W, Pantilat SZ. A Video Is Worth a Thousand Words. J Hosp Med. 2017 09; 12(9):773-774.  View on PubMed
  18. Pantilat SZ, Marks AK, Bischoff KE, Bragg AR, O'Riordan DL. The Palliative Care Quality Network: Improving the Quality of Caring. J Palliat Med. 2017 08; 20(8):862-868.  View on PubMed
  19. Kamal AH, Harrison KL, Bakitas M, Dionne-Odom JN, Zubkoff L, Akyar I, Pantilat SZ, O'Riordan DL, Bragg AR, Bischoff KE, Bull J. Improving the Quality of Palliative Care Through National and Regional Collaboration Efforts. Cancer Control. 2015 Oct; 22(4):396-402.  View on PubMed
  20. Rabow MW, Dahlin C, Calton B, Bischoff K, Ritchie C. New Frontiers in Outpatient Palliative Care for Patients With Cancer. Cancer Control. 2015 Oct; 22(4):465-74.  View on PubMed

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