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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 if necessary, 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 child care. Less interruption to their work and daily life makes patients more likely to keep scheduled virtual appointments.
  • Increase patient retention: The convenience of rapid access telehealth lets patients make appointments when they need them — 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.
  • 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 also expand care beyond your immediate neighborhood or city.

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

More information on synchronous telehealth:

Last updated: February 25, 2021

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