Telemedicine and Palliative Care: an Increasing Role in Supportive Oncology.
With the emergence of telemedicine as a routine form of care in various venues, the opportunities to use technology to care for the most vulnerable, most ill cancer patients are extremely appealing. Increasingly, evidence supports early integration of palliative care with standard oncologic care, supported by recent NCCN guidelines to increase and improve access to palliative care. This review looks at the use of telemedicine to expand access to palliative care as well as provide better care for patients and families where travel is difficult, if not impossible. When telemedicine has been used, often in Europe, for palliative care, the results show improvements in symptom management, comfort with care as well as patient and family satisfaction. One barrier to use of telemedicine is the concerns with technology and technology-related complications in population that is often elderly, frail and not always comfortable with non-face-to-face physician care. There remain significant opportunities to explore this intersection of supportive care and telemedicine.