Medically reviewed on February 24, 2023 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. 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.
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In recent years, telehealth has risen in popularity, with 37% of American adults taking advantage of digital medical services in 2021 alone.1 Increased demand and evolving technology have led telehealth providers to expand their range of healthcare services to include everything from consultations to medications.
Two styles of service define most telehealth solutions—synchronous and asynchronous. Like medication and massage therapy, they can be part of the same treatment plan yet serve different functions.
So, what’s the difference between these two telehealth solutions, and how can patients use them to facilitate easier treatment? Read on as we look into synchronous vs. asynchronous telehealth and explore what types of services are included under each umbrella.
While both types of telehealth encompass a variety of healthcare services, the terms synchronous and asynchronous refer to the timeframe in which a patient receives telehealth services :
Experiencing different delivery times for various healthcare services is nothing new. Think of your last in-person visit to a healthcare facility: After waiting for an hour past your scheduled appointment time and reading every magazine in the waiting room, your healthcare provider does a check-up and gives immediate advice. This could be considered synchronous healthcare, though not every provider runs this late.
Alternatively, imagine getting bloodwork done. You submit a sample one day and receive the results another (hopefully not several weeks later). The timeline for this type of test closely resembles how asynchronous telehealth services function.
Essentially, telehealth solutions don’t operate all that differently from the medical services you already know. In fact, the types of services considered synchronous and asynchronous telemedicine bear a striking resemblance to traditional healthcare.
While telehealth has changed the way many patients manage their healthcare, the solutions themselves aren’t entirely different. Even if the way patients receive services looks different, telehealth and traditional healthcare serve many of the same functions. To help you learn how to prepare for a telehealth appointment, let’s learn what kind of services are under each type.
Take traditionally instant services, like consultations with a healthcare provider, as an example. These familiar situations have viable synchronous solutions, such as:
Likewise, services that generally take a bit more time—such as connecting with specialists—have their own asynchronous counterparts. Asynchronous telehealth covers a broad range of services, but they all rely on the store-and-forward system, which functions like so :
Because of asynchronous telehealth’s wide range of possibilities, healthcare professionals can use it to manage a myriad of conditions, including:
Generally, telehealth patients will take advantage of both synchronous and asynchronous solutions to manage their wellness. For instance, a telehealth service provider may recommend a plan that looks like this:
Plans like these can help medical professionals provide healthcare solutions more easily. They also make it possible for patients to access services as they need them.
At Everywell, we’re committed to providing patients with access to easily navigable, high-quality digital health services, including access to discreet telemedicine online.
We facilitate a range of synchronous solutions for patients who need live support—such as virtual care visits (VCVs) with licensed healthcare professionals who can assess and diagnose conditions. Then, after your healthcare provider works out a care delivery plan, our easy-to-use digital portal makes sharing information with providers and receiving guidance a breeze.
If telehealth services sound right for your situation, Everywell is here to help. Reach out to us today for more information.
Asynchronous telehealth: what it is and more
Synchronous telehealth explained
What is remote patient monitoring (RPM)?
Benefits of telehealth: 5 advantages for all patients