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Rural Health Information Hub

Telehealth Application Domains

The Center for Connected Health Policy, the federally-designated National Telehealth Policy Resource Center, describes four key telehealth application domains: live video, store-and-forward, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health.

Live Video (Synchronous)

Live video is the most commonly used form of delivering telehealth. Live video includes two types of technology:

  • Video device, typically a camera
  • Display device, such as a television, a tablet, a projector, or a computer screen

A live connection allows the provider to examine and observe the patient in real time, deliver psychiatric evaluations, and consult with other providers, among many other benefits.

Store-and-Forward (Asynchronous)

In store-and-forward systems, rural providers transmit secure health information to external specialists in order to seek consultations outside of a real-time patient interaction. For example, a rural provider could send a patient's X-ray images to a specialist through secure channels and receive a diagnosis through email. Some store-and-forward systems are conducted entirely through electronic health records.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)

Providers use RPM technologies to track and monitor patient data from a distance. For example, a program for patients with hypertension might use an electronic blood pressure monitor to send daily readings to a database. The provider can review the database to monitor progress and suggest treatments to maintain the patient's health. By continually tracking patient data and offering preventive treatments, providers may be able to reduce hospital readmissions and utilization of emergency services. Module 2: Increasing Access to and Engagement with Care Outside of Healthcare Settings provides additional information about RPM in home settings.

Mobile Health (mHealth)

mHealth typically refers to health education or tracking provided via mobile devices, including cell phones and tablets. RPM interventions can involve mHealth as a means of communicating with patients. For example, patients can use mobile apps to collect health data, such as vital signs.

Resources to Learn More

The Basics: mHealth and the FDA
Describes different classes of regulated medical devices including mobile medical apps that are subject to FDA regulatory oversight.
Organization(s): Telehealth Resource Centers
Date: 11/2015

Store-and-Forward Telemedicine Services Expand Connected Health
Highlights the benefits of store-and-forward, or asynchronous, telemedicine services, particularly for evidence-based care, and discusses challenges to expanding this type of service.
Author(s): Wicklund, E.
Organization(s): mHealthIntelligence
Date: 1/2018

Types of Telehealth
An overview of four different types of telehealth: asynchronous telehealth, synchronous care, remote patient monitoring, and mHealth.
Organization(s): Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)