Healthcare providers who have added asynchronous telehealth technologies to their workflow have seen several clear benefits that improve healthcare delivery for all parties involved. Patients, for instance, enjoy increased efficiency in accessing specialist care, avoiding the long wait times generally associated with making a specialist appointment. This increases the overall quality of care and also avoids complications such as specialists being out of network, and thus prohibitively expensive. Store-and-forward technologies can also help patients overcome language barriers that may cause difficulties with audio-visual technologies.
When it comes to physicians, both PCP’s and specialists see benefits from asynchronous telehealth. PCP’s can get necessary input regarding their patient while retaining control over care and coordination, versus the care that is delivered directly to the patient either virtually or via a specialist appointment. Specialists, meanwhile, can review patient cases when it’s convenient for them. Specialists are also generally able to review more cases via store-and-forward platforms. A doctor with an hour of free time could conceivably handle 20 cases on an asynchronous platform, while they might be able to complete four or five cases on an audio-visual platform. In addition, with the use of live audio-visual platforms, both parties must connect in real-time versus at their own convenience.
Finally, asynchronous platforms allow health system administrators to configure workflows around an existing provider base—letting them include the program in their normal routine or pay out a smaller per-case fee. Further, by nature, all information is reliably documented in writing and can be uploaded as part of the patient’s health record, so providers can return to consultations to review information at any time. This also makes store-and-forward ideal for evidence-based care, as providers are easily able to gather all information on a patient, analyze the data, and make an informed diagnosis.