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Can video consultations replace face-to-face interviews? Palliative medicine and the Covid-19 pandemic: rapid review
  1. Anna Elizabeth Sutherland1,
  2. Jane Stickland1 and
  3. Bee Wee2
  1. 1 Department of Palliative Medicine, Sir Michael Sobell House Hospice, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
  2. 2 Department of Palliative Medicine, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anna Elizabeth Sutherland, Palliative Medicine, Sir Michael Sobell House Hospice, Oxford OX3 7LE, UK; annasutherland{at}


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.

  • home care
  • hospice care
  • clinical assessment
  • service evaluation

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors JS suggested the article and request the literature search. AES and JS independently screened titles and abstracts. AES wrote the final manuscript with supervision, comments and review from JS and BW.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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