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Synchronous telehealth: What is it and why should your employees have access to it?

Synchronous Telehealth

“Telehealth” is a term we use to describe technology that gives patients access to remote health care services. It’s a big category that includes all kinds of services. Telemedicine, or virtual doctor visits, are one example. Remote patient monitoring and prescription delivery are two other examples.

All these services fall into one of two categories: synchronous and asynchronous. We’re going to focus on the benefits of synchronous telehealth today, but let’s define each of these terms first.

What is synchronous telehealth?

“Synchronous telehealth” is what most people think of when they think of telehealth: doctor visits or treatment sessions that occur online or over the phone. If a doctor or medical specialist interacts with a patient or their representative remotely in real time, it falls under the umbrella of synchronous telehealth.

It’s a convenient and often more affordable option for patients, especially those who are unable to get to in-person appointments.

Synchronous vs. asynchronous telehealth

While synchronous telehealth happens in real time, asynchronous telehealth does not. Synchronous appointments take place over the phone or in a live video call, while asynchronous interactions take the form of texts, emails, and files sent back and forth via a patient portal.

For example, if a doctor sends images of an X-ray or MRI in a portal message for the patient to open at their convenience, that is a form of asynchronous telehealth. If the doctor drops links to the image in a live video conference, that is synchronous telehealth.

Both services can be valuable for patients, especially when used in conjunction.

9 reasons why all employees should have access to synchronous telehealth

Telehealth benefits can be a valuable resource for employees. Here’s a list of reasons why you should consider offering synchronous telehealth access as an employee benefit:

1. Increased access — The United States’ doctor shortage is only increasing, making it harder for employees to get timely medical care. Telehealth gives patients access to specialists who may be located in a completely different part of the country.

2. Medical care for people in remote areas Rural areas of the United States don’t have as much access to professional health care, but synchronous telehealth allows your remote employees to receive face-to-face medical treatment that they might not otherwise have access to.

3. Health care for traveling employees — If your employees spend the majority of their time on the road, telehealth allows them to attend doctor visits and consult specialists no matter where they are in the world. They’ll be able to maintain their health without having to change their trip dates.

4. Reduced exposure — Some employees might be afraid to visit a hospital or doctor’s office because they’re afraid of the pathogens they may be exposed to. Synchronous telehealth allows them to meet with a doctor in real time without the need to worry about exposing themselves or their family to potential risks.

5. Shorter travel time — Employees don’t need to drive or take public transportation to their appointments when their doctor is accessible on their phone or computer. They’ll appreciate having the ability to save time and gas money.

6. Immediate help for parents with children — The parents on your team will appreciate being able to speak to a professional specialist if their child suffers an injury or is experiencing undiagnosed pain.

7. Potential cost savings — A 2017 study found the average in-person doctor visit to cost almost twice as much as the average telehealth visit. While visit prices vary based on a number of factors, you could potentially save your employees a significant amount of money on health care costs.

8. Remote treatment for employees with limited mobility It may be difficult for employees with chronic pain conditions to leave the house for a doctor visit. Telehealth gives them the option to seek treatment without having to experience added pain.

9. Online physical therapy — Synchronous telehealth allows employees to attend physical therapy appointments at home. Whether they are recovering from a work-related injury or another ailment, their therapist will instruct them through their exercises while observing virtually and offering feedback.

Where can I learn more about telehealth physical therapy?

If you want to learn more about telehealth physical therapy and its benefits, we’re here to help.

Agile Virtual PT offers innovative telehealth services designed to help patients overcome any musculoskeletal pain they’re experiencing. We treat a range of common conditions and offer special services for women, weekend warriors, and people recovering from COVID-19.

Contact us today to learn how our employer partnerships can give your employees access to top-notch virtual PT.