Can video consultations replace face-to-face interviews? Palliative medicine and the Covid-19 pandemic: rapid review.
Sutherland AE., Stickland J., Wee B.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, a strategy to minimise face-to-face (FtF) visits and limit viral spread is essential. Video consultations offer clinical assessment despite restricted movement of people.We undertook a rapid literature review to identify the highest currently available level of evidence to inform this major change in clinical practice. We present a narrative synthesis of the one international and one national guideline and two systematic reviews-all published within the last 18 months.The global evidence appears to support video consultations as an effective, accessible, acceptable and cost-effective method of service delivery. Organisations must ensure software is simple, effective, reliable and safe, with the highest level of security for confidentiality.Although video consultations cannot fully replace FtF, they can radically reduce the need for FtF and the risk of Covid-19 spread in our communities while maintaining high standards of care. For patient safety, it will be critical to follow the WHO guidance regarding: a standard operating procedure; clinical protocols for when video consultations can (and cannot) be used; policies to ensure equity of access in disadvantaged populations; adequate staff training; and administrative support to coordinate appointments.