Article Text

Original research
Comparing video consultation and telephone consultation at the outpatient clinic of a tertiary referral centre: patient and provider benefits
  1. Esther Z Barsom1,
  2. Anne Sophie H M van Dalen1,
  3. Marjolein Blussé van Oud-Alblas2,
  4. Christianne J Buskens2,
  5. Anthony W H van de Ven2,
  6. Pieter J Tanis2,
  7. Marlies P Schijven2,
  8. Willem A Bemelman2
  1. 1 Department of Surgery, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC Locatie AMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Department of Surgery, Amsterdam Gastroenterology and Metabolism, Amsterdam UMC - Locatie AMC, Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Professor Dr Marlies P Schijven, Department of Surgery, Amsterdam Gastroenterology and Metabolism, Amsterdam UMC - Locatie AMC, Amsterdam 1105 AZ, North Holland, The Netherlands; m.p.schijven{at}


Objectives Telephone consultations are frequently used in the outpatient setting in order to avoid unnecessary travel and to reduce hospital visit-related costs for patients. However, they are limited by the absence of non-verbal communication in contrast to video consultation. Little is known considering the possible advantages of using video consultation in comparison to telephone consultation according to both patients and healthcare providers.

Methods Patients with colorectal diseases were asked to choose between a telephone consultation or a video consultation for their next appointment at the outpatient clinic of a tertiary referral centre. Willingness to use video consultation, value of non-verbal communication, patient satisfaction, provider satisfaction and user friendliness of the video connection technology were measured using questionnaires.

Results None of the included patients ever had a video consultation before with a healthcare provider. Nonetheless, 22/50 preferred a video consultation over a telephone consultation. Patients who preferred a video consultation underlined the benefits of providing visual feedback to both patients and healthcare providers. Moreover, healthcare providers felt they were better able to assess the patients’ healthcare condition.

Conclusion For patients who value both verbal and non-verbal interaction and feel comfortable with the use of video consultation, video consultation is the preferred contact modality. Shared decision making should be used to choose the preferred interaction modality. For patients with low digital skills, support might be needed or video consultation may not be the preferred choice.

  • surgical oncology
  • gastrointestinal diseases
  • colorectal surgey

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  • Twitter @estherbarsom, @marliesschijven

  • 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 Obtained.

  • Ethics approval All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This is an observational study. The medical ethics committee exempted this study from approval and a formal ethics approval was waived.

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

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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