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Telemed J E Health. 2019 Nov;25(11):1007-1011. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2018.0274. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Webside Manner: A Key to High-Quality Primary Care Telemedicine for All.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.


Evaluation of telemedicine, including videoconferencing, specifically focused on primary care, has demonstrated quality as good as in-person care, reduced cost, elimination of socioeconomic disparities in access, and high levels of patient satisfaction. Distinctly different care models are currently marketed by provider organizations as telemedicine. Inclusion (or not) of videoconferencing capacity constitutes a distinguishing feature that is likely to impact effectiveness, but provider organizations, regulatory agencies, and payers have largely overlooked this distinction. Reassurance reducing patient and family anxiety has long been recognized as essential to both patient satisfaction and value of the medical profession. Interaction that reduces anxiety requires empathic communication. Interpersonal communication involves more than words; also key are intonation of voice, facial expression, body language, and capacity to accurately "read" emotions in others and to respond effectively. Telemedicine with videoconferencing has been shown to redress disparities in access while providing high-quality care that is well accepted by both patients and providers. Technical and practical barriers to inclusion of videoconferencing in telemedicine are minimal. Real-time video interaction, enabling "webside manner," should be the default communication mode as telemedicine is increasingly accepted by patients, clinicians, and provider organizations as a tool to ensure high-quality primary care for all.


behavioral health; information management; telecommunications; telehealth; telemedicine; telepsychiatry


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