Asynchronous direct-to-consumer telehealth
Although most appointments happen virtually in real time, direct-to-consumer care can also share important information before and after the on-demand visit at different times, or asynchronously.
Patients often communicate online with providers using secure electronic messaging or sending prerecorded information such as a video or a static document like lab results. Providers later review this submitted information to diagnose or treat the patient’s issue. Asynchronous telehealth, also known as “store-and-forward,” is often used for patient intake or follow-up care. For example, a patient sends a photo of a skin condition that is later reviewed by a dermatologist who recommends treatment.
Tip: Be aware of potential fraud or identity theft. Often a patient can confirm their identity by logging into your telehealth platform with a verified account. You can confirm a patient’s identity using a government-issued ID or other document at the start of each visit.
Benefits for health care providers
Asynchronous direct-to-patient telehealth can help streamline patient workflows.
- Time savings: 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.
- 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.
- Efficiency: 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 patient. Automated patient intake through online forms or remote devices takes an average of three to five minutes.
More information on asynchronous telehealth:
- Store-and-Forward (asynchronous) — from the National Policy Center - Center for Connected Health Policy