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What is Store-and-Forward Asynchronous Telemedicine?

It’s a term you will hear on DocBright a lot, since it describes the Telehealth model we are built on: Store-and-Forward (also known as Asynchronous). So what is it?

Asynchronous Telehealth

Asynchronous Telehealth, put simply, means that care is being provided from a provider to a patient but the interaction is not live or in real-time.

Instead, information is submitted, stored, and forwarded to a provider for review and response, which usually takes place after some amount of time.

Benefits to Store-and-Forward Models

The benefits to a store-and forward Telehealthmodel include:

  • The ability to reduce the amount of time a patient or provider is required to engage in the consultation process while still receiving the same standard of care as a live or in-person consultation
  • Opportunities to create efficiency in providing care to a larger amount of patients 
  • No need to set specific dates or times for video or in-person encounters in order to get quality care

Potential Downsides to Store-and-Forward Models

Store-and-Forward Telehealth isn’t without it’s downsides:

  • For patients with multiple areas of concern or complex health problems that are widespread and difficult to share via photos, in-person encounters may be required
  • These visits require access to the Internet and a device with a camera – the patient must be able to get high quality photos of their condition to share with their submission
  • Some states restrict the use of only store-and-forward technology for establishing a patient-physician relationship, which is required to legally render care and prescribe medications

Asynchronous Telemedicine is most commonly used in radiology, pathology, dermatology, and ophthalmology among other specialties.

Diagnosis and treatments can be determined with minimal information and data with these specialties.

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