Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Telehealth: What’s the difference?

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Telehealth: What’s the difference?

11 Jan 2022
5 min

Telemedicine services are expanding swiftly and evolving to keep up with the ever-changing healthcare landscape. In the past, this was mainly applied to telephonic services or video consultations, but technological advancements have opened up new possibilities for virtual healthcare. Wellness, health, and medical practices offering telehealth services need to adopt appropriate technologies and architectures to provide remote virtual care services efficiently and cost-effectively.

What is Asynchronous Telehealth?

Asynchronous or offline communication is a mode of communication where messages and images are saved on the server and later shared with the provider when the connection is rectified. It also permits the patients to have more control over their health. For instance, asynchronous telemedicine allows patients to remotely share their health records with their primary healthcare provider. This can be helpful in identifying health issues early and taking appropriate actions, such as prescribing medication or referring patients to specialists for further tests.

What is Synchronous Telehealth?

Synchronous telemedicine refers to a type of healthcare interaction that is live and real-time. This means that all parties are online at the same time and able to communicate and interact in real-time, comparable to a face-to-face conversation. Synchronous communication allows for real-time decision-making and problem-solving. It’s also a more streamlined way to manage patient expectations, as everything is happening in real time. Synchronous telemedicine is favorable for many reasons, but the chief among them is that it allows for a greater level of connectedness between a patient and their doctor. This is particularly important for certain types of patients, such as those who are homebound or who have a chronic disease that requires follow-up care. Some telemedicine technologies employ a way for doctors to control the environment of their patients, such as with a virtual stethoscope or blood pressure cuff. This is because real-time communication is essential for the treatment to be effective.

HIPAA compliant platform for both asynchronous and synchronous telehealth services

Uses of Synchronous Telemedicine Services:

High-quality data is transmitted between the patient and provider. This enables the provider to make a diagnosis and start treatment immediately. The real-time transmission allows for interactive visits between the provider and customer, leading to better care and faster results.

You can create a more immersive experience for the patients, improving patient satisfaction and leading to better outcomes.

Synchronous telemedicine is best used in urgent care scenarios or when patient and provider communication is especially complex. For example, if a patient calls your urgent care and describes his symptoms, but you can’t fully understand what they are describing, a synchronous application can be helpful. Using a video call, you can visually observe the patient and ask them to show you the location of their pain or the symptoms they are experiencing. This way, you can better understand the issue and provide the appropriate care. Synchronous telemedicine can also be helpful in situations when there are language barriers between patients and providers. For example, if you work with a large population of Spanish-speaking patients, but you don’t speak Spanish, a synchronous application can be helpful in bridging this communication gap. A Spanish-speaking provider can join the video call and translate back and forth to help you better understand the patient’s needs and symptoms.

Another potential benefit of synchronous telemedicine is less risk of misunderstanding. This communication can help ensure that the patient and physician are on the same page, literally and figuratively. This can lead to fewer miscommunications and better overall care.

Uses of Asynchronous Telemedicine:

Asynchronous telemedicine is the most common form of virtual healthcare, and it is ideal when the patient’s situation allows for more flexible scheduling. This can include instances when a patient’s schedule is unpredictable or when there’s an issue that requires a longer conversation or more back-and-forth between the patient and provider. Asynchronous telemedicine is also more common when the patient is outside of the healthcare organization’s service area. This may be when a patient lives in a rural location or travels frequently and sees providers in different parts of the world. In these instances, asynchronous telemedicine can offer many of the benefits of synchronous communication. However, the flexibility of asynchronous communication can be useful in these situations.


Asynchronous telemedicine is also very commonly used as follows:

·        Health tracking

·        Asynchronous communication can also be used for tracking health metrics such as blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature, etc. 

·        Medical image sharing is another mode of asynchronous communication where images from CT scans, X-rays, MRI scans, and other diagnostic images are saved and shared with the healthcare provider. 

·        A common use of asynchronous telemedicine also involves sharing medical records such as lab reports, allergies, and medication history.

Moreover, asynchronous telemedicine services are less expensive as they do not require a high-bandwidth connection. These services can be used to transmit all types of data, including high-quality images and audio recordings. This type of care can also be used to connect providers who do not speak the same language.

Patients who use asynchronous telemedicine can have more control over their care. They can take their time to gather all the information they need before they speak with their provider. This can make it easier to ask questions and understand the answers.

In conclusion, both synchronous and asynchronous telemedicine have their benefits. Synchronous telemedicine is great for real-time interaction and diagnosis while asynchronous telemedicine is better for follow-up care and consultations. It is essential to carefully consider the needs of each patient when determining which type of care to provide. With the ever-changing healthcare landscape, it is crucial to be aware of these different types of care to serve the patients best.

Upvio's scheduling and telehealth software streamlines team operations with user-friendly features such as schedule creation, appointment reminders, virtual waiting room, and patient visit tracking. Additionally, it is ideal for both asynchronous and synchronous telehealth services, allowing for remote consultations and vital sign scanning, saving both time and money.

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