Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Woman sitting on a stool, communicating with a health care provider through a laptop sitting on a desk

Best practice guide

Telehealth for direct-to-consumer care
For providers Best practice guides Telehealth for direct-to-consumer care

Synchronous direct-to-consumer telehealth

Synchronous care is the most common form of real-time, virtual, direct-to-patient appointment.

Synchronous telehealth happens in live, real-time settings where the patient interacts with a provider, usually via phone or video. Providers and patients communicate directly, often resulting in a diagnosis, treatment plan, or prescription. Synchronous telehealth can also include additional at home devices such as a blood pressure or heart rate monitor, thermometer, oximeter, camera, or scale to help the provider more accurately assess the patient’s health status.

Tip: For information on setting up a space for telehealth visits, watch Telehealth Best Practices exit disclaimer icon  (video) from Hawaii’s State Department of Health and read the Telehealth Visit Etiquette Checklist exit disclaimer icon  (PDF) from the American Medical Association.

Benefits for health care providers

Providing easy access to patient-centered care offers obvious benefits for patients. Synchronous direct-to-consumer telehealth also has many advantages for health care providers.

  • Reduce patient no-shows: On-demand telehealth allows patients to take less time away from work or care for dependents like children. It can also reduce time off from work and less disruption to their daily life. As a result, patients are more likely to keep scheduled virtual appointments.
  • Increase patient retention: The convenience of telehealth lets patients make appointments when needed — with shorter wait times. Telemedicine appointments are sometimes cheaper for the patient and offer more privacy. This approach increases patient satisfaction and retention, leading to more revenue for your practice.
  • Create new business opportunities: Offering appointment times before or after the traditional workday can meet patient needs and extend billable hours beyond the standard schedule. It is a chance to reach new patients, increase revenue, and expand care beyond your immediate neighborhood or city.
  • Deliver care from home: Providers can see patients from a private space inside or close to home. This allows providers to adjust their hours to better meet patient needs and reduces the amount of time spent commuting to an off-site health setting.

Tip: Before serving patients that live outside of state lines, make sure to research licensing requirements.

More information on synchronous telehealth:

Last updated: October 28, 2022

Sign up for email updates

Get updates on telehealth
delivered to your inbox.