Is Telemedicine Better for Delivering Bad News?

Posted by Cam McClellan Teems

December 12, 2015 at 9:30 AM


In a recent article published on, the question was asked "Is Telemedicine Better for Delivering Bad News?" It got me thinking about how new cancer consults are tough conversations for many reasons especially when it can be a monumental appointment that not everyone who has a stake in the outcome can be part of. It often lasts 2 hours at the end of a busy day with a myriad of questions that are later a blur to the patient.

Telemedicine could really change this event for the better - for some.  Not everyone will be excited about the idea of a "talking head" physician explaining a diagnosis and treatment options on a screen.  Many, however, will be excited at the idea that they can have all of their loved ones around the kitchen table, participating in the conversation with the oncology provider (or providers) via computer or tablet. On the provider side, these conversations could happen at night or on weekends - from the comfort of home offices. The "tele" part allows this event to be so much more efficient - more people who care about the patient can hear from the patient side and the Care Team members get an efficient exposure to those they will be shepherding through a long journey.

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