Video consultations in the care for patients with a chronic somatic disease

Health Services Research (HSR)

The last couple of decades have witnessed a veritable boom in the use of digital technologies, and the healthcare sector has been no exception to this trend. These technologies have been given various names and definitions: remote healthcare, teleconsultation, telemonitoring, tele-expertise, eHealth, mHealth, and so on. The use of these technologies means that medical staff and patients no longer necessarily have to meet in person in the same physical space, which can obviate the need to travel in the case of people with reduced mobility, help curb the problem of crowded waiting rooms, minimise long journeys and reduce waiting periods.

The KCE had been commissioned to study the impact of video consultations on the health of patients suffering from chronic (somatic) diseases, but the Covid-19 crisis broke out whilst this study was under way and reality caught up with the researchers. Remote consultations by phone or video-conference were suddenly accepted and reimbursed throughout the world. The current dynamic should be turned to good account to ensure that this type of “digital” healthcare is introduced to a greater degree, as a useful addition to (but not a replacement of) face-to-face consultations. However, certain conditions have to be met, including, in particular, the patient’s informed consent.


KCE Reports 328: Video consultations in the care for patients with a chronic somatic disease