Unlike the live, real-time interaction of synchronous telemedicine, which requires both parties to be available at the same time, the asynchronous form of telemedicine uses what is known as store-and-forward technology. This means that patients can upload their health information or documents ahead of the consultation and physicians can review them at a time that suits their workflow. This makes asynchronous telehealth more convenient for both patients and doctors. It allows patients to not have to wait for specialist appointment hours, rearrange their schedules, or find someone to watch their children/pets. It also means that doctors can spend less time gleaning patient data and preparing for meetings since it is already fully formatted and ready to go.
Different medical specialties implement a personalised version of asynchronous telehealth according to their workflows. For example, radiology professionals use asynchronous telemedicine to send X-rays and MRIs of their patients from rural areas to higher-profile medical centres for review, while dermatologists use asynchronous telehealth to send photos of rashes or skin problems to specialists for evaluation.
Asynchronous telehealth is a great way to improve healthcare access, especially in remote and rural communities where it can be difficult to travel long distances or wait for a face-to-face appointment. Additionally, it is an effective method for follow-up care and can help overcome language and communication barriers. In fact, a recent study found that virtual care users are more likely to convert to health system patients and generate more revenue than non-users.