There has been no doubt that connecting patient with caregiver over a video link is a big benefit, as it makes a lot of information available to a doctor or nurse that they otherwise would not be able to know. What's not been measured as closely is whether there's a corresponding social benefit.
In the June 2015 issue of the British Journal of General Practice, a study is described in which, with 360 patients, researchers explored the effects of different kinds of communication in doctor/patient interaction.
They concluded that non-verbal (visual, social touch) and non-specific verbal (social talk) may be more important than specific verbal exchanges. Gestures, especially toward the beginning of a session, had a positive effect that carried through the whole session.
Researchers are using a clever set of techniques that can also show how far preserving the whole scope of interaction is beneficial in telemedicine when compared to just audio, and that work so far shows that video is measurably better than just voice.
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