The Answer to Scalability and Sustainability?

Since its inception, telehealth has continually grown and
evolved, along with the technology that makes it possible. Along with these
changes, of course, have come debates over things like usability. One thing
that’s been discussed a good deal of recent, as mHealth Intelligence
first highlighted: the role of asynchronous store-and-forward telehealth.
Because asynchronous store-and-forward has worked well for specialists and in
certain medical fields, many are hoping to integrate it into their regular
workflows. For Nathaniel Lacktman, a telehealth attorney and speaker at this
month’s Value-Based Care Summit on Telehealth (and a presenter at several
previous CTeL Summits!), asynchronous store-and-forward is “the next big thing
in consumer-oriented telemedicine.” With some direct-to-consumer programs
falling by the wayside, asynchronous platforms might just be the answer.

Asynchronous store-and-forward provides a sharp contrast to
direct-to-consumer care. It allows providers and patients to interact with one
another on their own timelines, something direct-to-consumer telehealth does
not. Patients use some kind of interactive medical questionnaire and upload any
images, labs, or other diagnostic information necessary. The provider then
reviews the uploaded information, renders a diagnosis, and issues treatment
recommendations. All this happens at a time convenient to each party. Asynchronous
store-and-forward even changes the game for regular video-based telehealth,
which requires that both the patient and provider be online and in front of the
camera at the same time. “This is a huge operational cost,” Lacktman said of
video-based programs. “It’s called friction” because coordinating the
scheduling between patient and physician availability can be “a real pain.”

While the strongest arguments for asynchronous
store-and-forward telehealth seem to be convenience and costs saved, there is
something to be said about being able to still see and communicate with the
patient in real time. Though many states have moved forward with legislation
favoring asynchronous store-and-forward, quite a few states still prohibit its
use or remain silent on it. According to Lacktman, whichever way states land,
the ultimate goal is to “build a direct-to-consumer telehealth offering that is
meaningful, clinically appropriate, legally compliant and scalable.” So it
certainly seems that asynchronous store-and-forward can offer a high level of
scalability and sustainability.

Click here to read the mHealth Intelligence article on asynchronous and direct-to-consumer telehealth.


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Thanks !

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