Benefits and drawbacks of videoconferencing for collaborating multidisciplinary teams in regional oncology networks: a scoping review

Lidia S van Huizen*, Pieter U Dijkstra, Sjoukje van der Werf, Kees Ahaus, Jan LN Roodenburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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INTRODUCTION: Various forms of videoconferenced collaborations exist in oncology care. In regional oncology networks, multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are essential in coordinating care in their region. There is no recent overview of the benefits and drawbacks of videoconferenced collaborations in oncology care networks. This scoping review presents an overview of videoconferencing (VC) in oncology care and summarises its benefits and drawbacks regarding decision-making and care coordination.

DESIGN: We searched MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL (nursing and allied health) and the Cochrane Library from inception to October 2020 for studies that included VC use in discussing treatment plans and coordinating care in oncology networks between teams at different sites. Two reviewers performed data extraction and thematic analyses.

RESULTS: Fifty studies were included. Six types of collaboration between teams using VC in oncology care were distinguished, ranging from MDTs collaborating with similar teams or with national or international experts to interactions between palliative care nurses and experts in that field. Patient benefits were less travel for diagnosis, better coordination of care, better access to scarce facilities and treatment in their own community. Benefits for healthcare professionals were optimised treatment plans through multidisciplinary discussion of complex cases, an ability to inform all healthcare professionals simultaneously, enhanced care coordination, less travel and continued medical education. VC added to the regular workload in preparing for discussions and increased administrative preparation.

DISCUSSION: Benefits and drawbacks for collaborating teams were tied to general VC use. VC enabled better use of staff time and reduced the time spent travelling. VC equipment costs and lack of reimbursement were implementation barriers.

CONCLUSION: VC is highly useful for various types of collaboration in oncology networks and improves decision-making over treatment plans and care coordination, with substantial benefits for patients and specialists. Drawbacks are additional time related to administrative preparation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere050139
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 9-Dec-2021

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