Benefits and drawbacks of videoconferencing for collaborating multidisciplinary teams in regional oncology networks: a scoping review

Lidia van Huizen*, Pieter Dijkstra, Sjoukje van der Werf, Kees Ahaus, Jan Roodenburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction Various forms of videoconferenced
collaborations exist in oncology care. In regional oncology
networks, multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are essential in
coordinating care in their region. There is no recent overview of
the benefits and drawbacks of videoconferenced collaborations
in oncology care networks. This scoping review presents
an overview of videoconferencing (VC) in oncology care and
summarises its benefits and drawbacks regarding decisionmaking and care coordination.
Design We searched MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL
(nursing and allied health) and the Cochrane Library from
inception to October 2020 for studies that included VC
use in discussing treatment plans and coordinating care
in oncology networks between teams at different sites.
Two reviewers performed data extraction and thematic
Results Fifty studies were included. Six types of collaboration
between teams using VC in oncology care were distinguished,
ranging from MDTs collaborating with similar teams or with
national or international experts to interactions between palliative
care nurses and experts in that field. Patient benefits were less
travel for diagnosis, better coordination of care, better access to
scarce facilities and treatment in their own community. Benefits
for healthcare professionals were optimised treatment plans
through multidisciplinary discussion of complex cases, an ability
to inform all healthcare professionals simultaneously, enhanced
care coordination, less travel and continued medical education.
VC added to the regular workload in preparing for discussions
and increased administrative preparation.
Discussion Benefits and drawbacks for collaborating
teams were tied to general VC use. VC enabled better
use of staff time and reduced the time spent travelling.
VC equipment costs and lack of reimbursement were
implementation barriers.
Conclusion VC is highly useful for various types of
collaboration in oncology networks and improves decisionmaking over treatment plans and care coordination,
with substantial benefits for patients and specialists.
Drawbacks are additional time related to administrative
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere050139
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


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