Woman experiencing synchronous telehealth by talking with provider via video on tablet

Synchronous telehealth explained

Written on March 12, 2023 by Theresa Vuskovich, DMD. 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

Synchronous telehealth allows you to communicate with your healthcare provider from virtually anywhere. A synchronous telehealth appointment is the most common type of online healthcare appointment. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about synchronous telehealth, including how it can help you stay healthy.

What is synchronous telehealth?

Telehealth is the use of technology to deliver medical information, treatments, medications, and therapies [1-4]. "Telehealth" and "telemedicine" are sometimes used interchangeably [1,2]. While telemedicine centers around the doctor-patient relationship, telehealth generally refers to communication with a range of healthcare providers, including pharmacists, behavioral therapists, or nurses [1,2]. There are two types of telehealth: asynchronous and synchronous.

Asynchronous telehealth involves communication between providers, patients, and caregivers at different times. Remote patient monitoring (RPM), store-and-forward, and mobile health (mHealth) are examples of asynchronous telehealth. All of these telehealth applications allow providers and patients to exchange health information and data without having to interact directly with one another.

In contrast, when you use synchronous telehealth, you can ask medical questions, receive diagnoses, and get prescriptions from your healthcare provider [1-4]. Synchronous telehealth enables patients and healthcare providers to meet virtually via video technology, such as Zoom [1-4]. Synchronous telehealth occurs in real-time. Real-time interaction enhances the authenticity of information exchange between you and your healthcare provider.

Benefits of synchronous telehealth

Aside from fostering a patient-provider relationship, synchronous telehealth offers many benefits for patients, caregivers, and providers. These benefits include [1-7]:

  • Saving time: You can avoid traffic and waiting rooms by using synchronous telehealth.
  • Offering more flexibility: If your job prevents you from attending traditional clinic hours, synchronous telehealth allows you to talk to your healthcare provider whenever convenient. You can see a healthcare provider without the help of your caregiver, who may not have the time to drive you. Synchronous telehealth also gives providers more flexibility.
  • Saving money: You can save on extra expenses related to medical appointments, such as transportation and daycare costs. You can also avoid missed days of work.
  • Improving access: If you live in a rural area, synchronous telehealth improves your access to healthcare providers. About 20% of the American population lives in rural areas, and only 9% of physicians work in rural areas [4].
  • Improving care: Synchronous telehealth enables more patients to see specialists they wouldn't otherwise be able to see. If you have a rare disease, this is particularly beneficial because there are often few providers who specialize in rare diseases.
  • Decreasing infectious disease spread: If you have the flu or another contagious illness, synchronous telehealth allows you to discuss your symptoms and receive treatment without potentially infecting others.
  • Reducing stigma: Some conditions are stigmatized, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and mental illnesses. If you feel uncomfortable going to a clinic to discuss these conditions, synchronous telehealth lets you talk directly to a healthcare provider from the comfort of your home.
  • Lowering healthcare costs: Providers can see additional patients without using clinic resources such as the waiting room and additional staff.
  • Streamlining work for providers: Synchronous telehealth allows providers to see more patients than in a traditional clinic.

Everlywell VCV offering

Limitations of synchronous telehealth

A potential problem with synchronous telehealth is that patients need reliable digital communication. Telehealth appointments are often unpopular with older patients who are uncomfortable with technology. Also, patients who live in rural areas may not have access to a stable internet connection, which is necessary for face-to-face communication. Providers in some states must communicate face-to-face with you before they can prescribe controlled substances.

How to have a successful synchronous telehealth visit

A successful synchronous telehealth appointment starts with the right digital communication tools. Synchronous telehealth utilizes video or audio-only digital communication. Here are some tips for your next synchronous telehealth visit:

  • Have a stable internet connection and clear audio and video equipment
  • Have easy access to intake forms, identification, and current prescriptions
  • Use good lighting to ensure you are clearly visible
  • Turn off any background noise
  • Close other computer applications because they may slow down your connection
  • Keep children and pets out of the room if you are concerned that they may disrupt the appointment

Synchronous telehealth appointment examples:

Synchronous telehealth is available via Everlywell

Everlywell connects you with healthcare providers who can guide your health journey. During your 20- to 30-minute synchronous telehealth appointment, a licensed board-certified nurse practitioner can prescribe medications, order lab tests, and assess your symptoms and health goals.

Personalized treatment plans are available if you are experiencing headaches, fatigue, weight changes, burning with urination, rash/hives, or problems sleeping. You can also get a one-time prescription for flu, COVID-19, UTIs, and minor skin conditions. Scheduling your synchronous telehealth appointment is easy with Everlyell's online appointment scheduler. Address your symptoms today and get a customized care plan for you.

Synchronous vs. asynchronous telehealth: key points to know

Asynchronous telehealth: what it is and more

Types of telehealth care and services


  1. Telehealth, telemedicine, and telecare: What’s what? Federal Communications Commission. URL. Published September 17, 2014. Accessed February 27, 2023.
  2. What is telehealth? Hhs.gov. URL. Accessed February 23, 2023.
  3. Synchronous direct-to-consumer telehealth. Hhs.gov. URL. Accessed February 23, 2023.
  4. Mechanic OJ, Persaud Y, Kimball AB. Telehealth Systems. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. URL
  5. Tevaarwerk A. Virtual care for people with cancer. Mayo Clinic Health System. URL. Published November 1, 2022. Accessed February 27, 2023.
  6. Erten Uyumaz B, Feijs L, Hu J. A Review of Digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I Apps): Are They Designed for Engagement? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Mar 12;18(6):2929. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18062929. PMID: 33809308; PMCID: PMC7999422. URL
  7. Kling SMR, Saliba-Gustafsson EA, Winget M, et al. Teledermatology to facilitate patient care transitions from inpatient to outpatient dermatology: Mixed methods evaluation. J Med Internet Res. 2022;24(8):e38792. doi:10.2196/38792. URL
Everlywell makes lab testing easy and convenient with at-home collection and digital results in days. Learn More