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Can video consultations replace face-to-face interviews? Palliative medicine and the Covid-19 pandemic: rapid review
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  • Published on:
    Law changes facilitate telemedicine

    Interesting reading the article by Sutherland et al [1] on the use of video consultations in palliative care. As a clinician, as an user and advocate of video consultations I entirely agree that telehealth can and must be used as one of the tools of our disposal to be more efficient looking after our patients. There is no doubt workload is a trigger for new models of care.

    Nevertheless, the pandemic has not only triggered an explosion in video consultations due to the need to minimise the risk of infection but a change in law in the United Kingdom that allows its full use, as in this country the death certificate includes the statement “Last seen alive by me …. ” and up to now there was a need to see the patient face to face within the last two weeks before death. Now, it is possible to have seen the patient within the last four weeks, and video consultations are considered as an option to face-to-face consultations.

    It is argued there will be no return to the old norm, and that many changes brought by the pandemic will remain after it passes. It is hoped telemedicine expansion will remain, but in palliative medicine it will only do if the law changes remain in place.

    1. Sutherland AE, Stickland J, Wee B. Can video consultations replace face-to-face interviews? Palliative medicine and the Covid-19 pandemic: rapid review. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 2020;10:271-275.

    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.