Telemedicine and doctor-patient communication: an analytical survey of the literature

J Telemed Telecare. 2001;7(1):1-17. doi: 10.1258/1357633011936075.


The literature about the effect of telemedicine on doctor-patient communication was reviewed. A total of 38 studies were identified: six were surveys of provider and community attitudes; 21 were post-encounter surveys of participants in a medical consultation; and 11 were qualitative analyses of behaviour in a medical encounter. Twenty-one of the 38 investigations originated in the USA, six in the UK, four in Australia, three in Norway, two in Canada, one in Finland and one in Sweden. All were relatively recent. The findings from each study were coded according to 23 categories developed from the literature and a positive or negative rating was assigned to each of the 213 communication results. Approximately 80% of abstracted findings favoured telemedicine, with all but two of the 23 categories analysed (non-verbal behaviour and lack of touch) reporting more positive than negative results. Verbal content analysis is important for the development of interventions aimed at facilitating doctor-patient telecommunication. However, further research is necessary if the nature and content of the communication process are to be fully understood.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Communication*
  • Confidentiality
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Telemedicine*