Videoconferencing Is Here to Stay, But How Does It Affect Visits?

By Leah Lawrence - Last Updated: November 7, 2022

Both nurses and patients involved in oncology ambulatory care valued person-centered and relationship-based approaches during nurse-patient videoconferencing visits (VCVs), according to a recent qualitative study.

“During the COVID-19 global pandemic, the use of telehealth to provide oncology care as safely as possible increased dramatically,” study researchers wrote in an article published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. “Despite initial logistical challenges, many patients and oncology health care clinicians have decided that videoconferencing provides an innovative and effective way to receive and deliver care, yet little is known about how this modality of care affects patient-clinician relationships.”

To explore the effects further, researchers conducted a qualitative descriptive study, interviewing 22 patients with cancer (n=10) and oncology nurses (n=12) from October 2021 to March 2022. During the interviews, participants were asked about their experiences of rapport-building during VCVs.

The patient interviews brought attention to 3 themes. First, building rapport during both VCVs and in-person visits requires a personal touch. Second, this rapport facilitates trust in VCVs and affects how the patient feels about their care. Third, videoconferencing works well in some cases, but not all.

Similarly, 4 themes were identified from the nurse interviews. First, rapport-building begins with the nurses knowing their patients as people. Second, most good bedside manner can be translated into good “webside” manner. Third, differences in VCVs that could affect rapport need to be recognized. Finally, cultivating the nurse-patient rapport in VCVs is essential, both for quality patient care and nurse job satisfaction.

“There was a striking similarity in the descriptions of rapport-building by patients and oncology nurses; both described a personal connection as foundational to building a trusting relationship and important for high-quality, satisfying care,” the study researchers wrote. “Patients and nurses acknowledged that videoconferencing has benefits, challenges, and limitations but were interested in determining when and how to make optimal use of this new care modality.”

The researchers also noted that concerns that VCVs would “depersonalize” care were not supported by the study findings.

Based on the results, they recommended that “policy and practice guidelines be person centered, allowing clinicians to assess in real time the type of visit that can best meet the patient’s holistic needs.”

 

Reference

Exploring Nurse and Patient Experiences of Developing Rapport During Oncology Ambulatory Care Videoconferencing Visits: Qualitative Descriptive Study

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