A cost analysis of participation via personal attendance versus telemedicine at a head and neck oncology multidisciplinary team meeting

J Telemed Telecare. 2005;11(4):205-10. doi: 10.1258/1357633054068892.


Multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings are used for establishing diagnosis, for tumour, node, metastasis (TNM) classification and for treatment in head and neck tumour patients in the western region of Sweden. Because of the distances, telemedicine was introduced to link the regional hospital to two of the three district general hospitals (DGHs). We evaluated the costs of presenting patients face to face (FTF) versus via telemedicine. Cost analyses were based on questionnaires completed by patients presented at the MDT meeting. A total of 39 patients were included in the FTF group and 45 patients in the telemedicine group. The cost analysis showed that FTF presentation cost SEK 2267 versus SEK 2036 by telemedicine (difference not significant). The small difference was explained by the fact that the responsible physician accompanied only six of 39 patients when presented FTF, but when presented via telemedicine the DGH physician always participated. A sensitivity analysis revealed that if the responsible physician always accompanied his/her patient for presentation FTF, the cost would be SEK 5366 per patient. This study shows that costs may be saved by carrying out MDT meetings by means of telemedicine instead of FTF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case Management / economics*
  • Case Management / organization & administration
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / economics*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Telemedicine / economics*
  • Videoconferencing / economics*