Table 1

Comparison of advantages and disadvantages of face-to-face, video and telephone consultations

Face-to-face consultationFormal video conferencing with far-end camera controlInternet-based video call platformTelephone consultations
Best quality verbal and non-verbal communicationInconvenience of attending, particularly for patients in remote areasPatients need only to travel to local hospitalPatients still must travel to peripheral hospitalNo travel requiredRequires appropriate device and good internet connectionNo travel requiredCannot pick up on non-verbal clues
No technology required for patientsMay not be suitable during infectious disease epidemic/pandemicFull control of far-end camera and assistant for examinationRequires expensive equipment and IT supportSuitable devices are widely availableMore limited examination possibleOnly technology required is telephone connectionNo examination is possible (other than of speech)
Gold standard examinationMost examination is possibleNot all examination is possibleCan share imaging with patientsSome platforms do not have necessary encryptionCannot share imaging with patients
Can share imaging with patientsGives neurology experience to trainee doctors/specialist nursesVariable quality of examining assistantEasy to include relatives in discussionTechnical issues more common; real-time IT support not availableDifficult to include relatives in discussion
Can share imaging with patientsInitially slower than face-to-face, but almost as quick with practice
Rarely technical issues, but real-time IT support available
  • IT, information technology.