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J Palliat Med. 2013 Jan;16(1):110-2. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2012.0022. Epub 2012 Jul 17.

The use of Skype in a community hospital inpatient palliative medicine consultation service.

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  • 1Adult Palliative Medicine Service, Tacoma General Hospital, Multicare Health System, Tacoma, Washington, USA.


Skype™, an Internet-based communication tool, has enhanced communication under numerous circumstances. As telemedicine continues to be an increasing part of medical practice, there will be more opportunities to use Skype and similar tools. Numerous scenarios in the lay literature have helped to highlight the potential uses. Although most commonly used to enhance physician-to-patient communication, there has been limited reported use of Skype for patient-to-family communication, especially in end of life and palliative care. Our inpatient Palliative Medicine Consultation Service has offered and used this technology to enhance our patients' quality of life. The objective was to provide another tool for our patients to use to communicate with family and/or friends, especially under circumstances in which clinical symptoms, functional status, financial concerns, or geographic limitations preclude in-person face-to face communication.

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