added an update
BACKGROUND: Telemedicine in palliative care was initially developed in countries where geography or resources limit access to care services. Recently, largely owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, this technology is being increasingly used in highly urbanised countries such as Switzerland. However, there is still scepticism regarding whether these tools can be used effectively in palliative care, a relationship-based speciality that is generally highly dependent on compassion, communication and direct human interaction. The objective of this review was to analyse the needs, elements of feasibility, and reasons for acceptance or possible barriers before the implementation of a telemedicine intervention in Switzerland. METHODS: The method used was a scoping review, following the PRISMA-ScR reporting guidelines. We searched the PubMed, Ovid SP, Medline, Cochrane and Scopus databases for relevant reports. Charting and analyses of the data were done by a single researcher. A total of 520 records were screened and assessed for eligibility. Finally, 27 studies and 4 registry entries were included. Main reasons for exclusion were wrong population and intervention. RESULTS: The prevailing study type was the single-arm intervention study. Most studies originated from countries with geographic barriers to access. Feasibility was good in 69% of all studies. Good acceptability (84.1–100%) was confirmed in the majority of the studies. The needs of the patients or the healthcare professionals were directly addressed in only five (16%) studies. Three needs were consistently reported: communication, coordination and technical reliability CONCLUSION: Despite a broad range of studies on telemedicine in palliative care, patients’ needs are rarely addressed. Therefore, especially in countries such as Switzerland, a needs assessment is recommended before the implementation of a new telemedicine intervention, to guarantee high feasibility and acceptability.
Wir leben in einer komplexen Welt mit komplexen gesundheitlichen Situationen, welche nur mit der Hilfe von interprofessioneller Koordination bewältigt werden können. Die Telemedizin als digitale Kommunikationsform kann helfen, die interprofessionelle Zusammenarbeit zu verbessern. Sie vereinfacht den Austausch im Team sowie mit den Patientinnen und Patienten und deren Angehörigen. Das zeigt sich exemplarisch beim Einsatz der Telemedizin in der Palliative Care.
Telemedicine in palliative care is established especially in countries with large geographical distances. Digital forms of communication (virtual consultations) are most frequently used and well-accepted by patients and caregivers. The main benefit lies in the reduction of the access barrier in the outpatient setting. Advantages are stress reduction for patients (travel, accessibility) and reduction in the care burden for relatives. Additional benefits compared to the physical visit for symptom-control, quality of life and costs are unclear. Risks are influenced by the lack of physical interaction and data security. To what extent telepalliative care makes sense in a high-density health system is difficult to predict. It is therefore important to use these new tools in a carefully adapted and scientifically verified way.