Woman exercising while setting up laptop for asynchronous telehealth

Asynchronous telehealth: what it is and more

Written on February 22, 2023 by Gillian (Gigi) Singer, MPH, Sexuality Educator & Certified Sexologist. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

In 2021 and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, 37% of adults reported using telemedicine [1]. COVID-19 left many people unable to leave the house, let alone visit a healthcare provider’s office, so telemedicine alleviated many of the barriers to healthcare access for elderly people, rural communities, and marginalized populations.

Telemedicine is also very convenient and efficient for patients and providers, so it’s likely here to stay.

What is asynchronous telehealth?

Asynchronous telehealth, per the Department of Health and Human Services, is “communication or information shared between providers, patients, and caregivers that occur at different points in time” [2].

The Center for Connected Health Policy defines “store-and-forward” care as “Electronic transmission of medical information, such as digital images, documents, and pre-recorded videos, to a practitioner, usually a specialist, who uses the information to evaluate the case or render a service outside of a real-time or live interaction” [3].

Examples of asynchronous telehealth include, but are not limited to: messaging with a healthcare provider (HCP), sending images to an HCP for evaluation, or communicating lab results or reports [2].

Asynchronous vs. synchronous telehealth

Asynchronous telehealth differs from synchronous telehealth: “Synchronous care is a live interaction between a provider and a patient. Visits may also include a caregiver, as appropriate” [2]. Examples include video calls between a patient and an HCP, audio-only calls (when video is unavailable), and secure text messaging to answer patient questions [2].

Tools for asynchronous telehealth

You may already use some of the most common asynchronous telehealth tools. Some devices commonly used as part of asynchronous telehealth are wearable and portable; they are often called “mobile health” devices. Examples include smartphones, fitness tracking watches, step counters, smart watches, etc. They are also called wearables and are “used to support patient health” [2].

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices transmit “patient data and clinical information to the provider either through in-home devices or information entered and transmitted electronically by the patient” [2]. Examples of RPM devices include blood pressure monitors, pacemakers, glucose meters, oximeters, wireless scales, and heart rate monitors [2].

Benefits of asynchronous telehealth

For patients

  • Your time is valuable: Asynchronous telehealth lets you take care of your health on your own time. With job schedules, families, social lives, and so many more demanding blocks of time on your calendar, you often need a healthcare option that lets you fit our healthcare into your life, rather than the other way around. You no longer have to leave work early or miss your workout class to visit a doctor’s office or even attend a synchronous video appointment.
  • Allows for ongoing evaluation: This option lets you work with your HCP in your everyday life to monitor chronic conditions, progress, etc.
  • Save money: You don’t need to leave work and sacrifice billable hours or arrange for childcare.

For healthcare providers

  • Saves time: “Online forms streamline patient intake and follow up processes by storing patient data for later use. Using standardized intake questions and follow-up procedures also make care more consistent for each patient, regardless of which provider is delivering care. Online forms help collect the same data points for each patient, storing them all in the same place” [4].
  • Offers flexibility: “Since no scheduling is involved, providers can complete online visits when it fits into their scheduling, such as in between in-office visits, during lunch, or after hours” [4].
  • Efficient: “Intaking, diagnosing, prescribing, and charting for a patient encounter in the office or on a video call can take at least 30 minutes, based on the complexity of the patent. Automated patient intake through online forms or remote devices takes an average of three to five minutes” [4].

Tips for asynchronous telehealthcare

The Department of Health and Human Services provides words of caution regarding fraud and identity theft regarding asynchronous telehealth care.

They warn that HCPs should require patient identity confirmation when logging into their verified telehealth platform using “a government-issued ID or other document at the start of each visit” [4].

Patients should use secure passwords on their telehealth accounts and email accounts and in addition should verify the integrity of the website they are using. You can always call your HCP’s office to confirm the URL and/or platform you should be using.

Telehealth via Everlywell

Everlywell offers access to telehealth services via Virtual Care Visits, allowing you to see and speak with a healthcare provider on your schedule.

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  1. Lucas JW, Villarroel MA. Telemedicine use among adults: United States, 2021. National Center for Health Statistics. URL. Published October 12, 2022. Accessed February 21, 2023.
  2. Getting started with telehealth. Health Resources and Services Administration. URL. Accessed February 21, 2023.
  3. What is telehealth? Center for Connected Health Policy. URL. Accessed February 21, 2023.
  4. Telehealth for direct-to-consumer care. Health Resources and Services Administration. URL. Accessed February 21, 2023.
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