Nov 28, 2023



How Physicians and Consumers Perceive Asynchronous Care and AI

From reducing patient wait times to relieving staff shortage challenges, asynchronous care is redefining the doctor-patient relationship for the better. Here’s what we learned from our recent study.

Traditional real-time healthcare interactions aren’t going anywhere, but asynchronous care—in which the exchange is not live—redefines the doctor-patient dynamic by introducing flexibility and convenience. For instance, if a patient needs to refill their prescription, asynchronous care allows them to use an online questionnaire to request their medications instead of having to schedule an in-person appointment with their doctor. Other examples of asynchronous care include remote monitoring or automatic collection of biometric data, digital intake forms, and text-based chats with patients. Asynchronous care provides several advantages for patients and healthcare professionals, as it enables on-demand delivery that isn’t limited to an in-person appointment time and gives patients more autonomy over their care experiences. In addition, streamlining clinical workflows reduces the time consumers spend waiting for care, increasing the number of patients a practice can see on any given day and ultimately driving revenue. 

With consumers seeking greater personalization and more on-demand care from health systems, asynchronous care has become an increasingly popular option. Even so, some healthcare professionals and patients remain unfamiliar with this emerging care method and how it works.

In Healthgrades surveys of physicians and consumers conducted earlier this year, we sought to better understand their experiences with asynchronous care while exploring how technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) can positively impact patient care. Here’s what we learned.

Most Physicians Are Utilizing Asynchronous Care

We asked physicians1 to share their participation in asynchronous patient engagement. Eight out of ten physicians surveyed reported providing care asynchronously:

  • 70% utilize secure messaging or emails.
  • 44% use digital intake forms.
  • 41% leverage text-based chats with patients. 

Notably, physicians with less than 20 years of experience showed a higher comfort level with asynchronous care than their more experienced counterparts (91% vs. 80%).

When asked about specific use cases, respondents expressed high levels of comfort with using asynchronous care for the following:

  • Deliver and refill prescriptions (92%).
  • Diagnose low acuity symptoms (80%).
  • Discuss medication side effects (71%).

In addition, 63% of surveyed physicians reported seeing AI as a helpful tool to leverage with asynchronous care for completing administrative tasks, triaging patients, and providing patient education such as follow-ups, compliance notices, and procedure information. However, 37% remain cautious, citing concerns about potential abuse and uncertainty about using AI in the mental health space.

Regardless, as consumers increase the usage of asynchronous channels, health systems and large group practices need to decide how to bill for e-visits to be fairly compensated for not only their time but also for expanding patients’ access to care.

Patients Report Lower Levels of Asynchronous Care Adoption 

Interestingly, we learned that despite asynchronous care gaining traction, fewer consumers2 than physicians report ever participating in asynchronous care (65% vs. 82%). These patients cite convenience (77%) and time savings (76%) as the main benefits of using asynchronous methods for the following:

  • Receive prescription refills (83%) 
  • Common health problems (73%)
  • Skincare questions (72%)
  • Sexual health issues (73%) 

Nearly 10% of US adults surveyed reported using AI for health-related information, with Gen Z respondents emerging as the leading demographic (26%).

Among these AI users, 58% use it to look up health symptoms, with other popular topics including exercise or fitness (49%), healthy recipes (48%), health and wellness products (44%), and food and nutrition (42%). ChatGPT stands out as the preferred AI tool among users, with a substantial 68% of respondents expressing high levels of satisfaction with it.

Consumer trust in AI chatbots is evident, with nearly 80% finding the health-related information provided by AI chatbots trustworthy. Additionally, nearly 80% of respondents are willing to provide information about their health to AI chatbots for valuable insights. And despite seeing age-related disparities—with older adults (age 35+) expressing lower levels of trust—there’s a growing comfort and openness to AI integration in personal healthcare experiences.

Explore the Potential of Asynchronous Care with Healthgrades

Every year, half of all U.S. healthcare consumers who see a doctor visit, making us the #1 platform for connecting patients with doctors.

With 8 out of 10 physicians already using asynchronous care, such as secure messaging and digital intake forms, this delivery care method will only continue to gain traction in the healthcare space. A partnership with Healthgrades can help your health system engage the largest audience of commercially-insured patients searching for care, drive appointments, and increase brand awareness.

Our advertising solutions offer our partners the following benefits:

  • Increased visibility: Prominent branding and calls to action on physician profiles and search results pages.
  • Competitive intercept: Promote your brand and present your medical staff as alternative options directly on your competitors’ physician profiles.
  • Syndication network: Reach consumers where they are by extending your brand across the web with our partner sites.
  • Easy conversion: Promote your site’s online appointment scheduling for in-person and telehealth services on your profiles to convert patients ready to appoint. 
  • SEO/SEM: Our solutions both complement and outperform Google SEM to maximize your relevance in search results.

Get in touch with Healthgrades to learn more about how we can help you adjust your marketing strategy to keep up with industry demands and convert high-value patients.

1 Healthgrades survey emailed to Healthgrades physician community including registered members, and Healthline Medical Advisors, July – August 2023
 2 Physicians and Consumers Asynchronous Care + AI Survey, July – August 2023

About the Methodology

Physicians Asynchronous Care + AI Survey

Survey method
Survey emailed to Healthgrades’ physician community, including registered members and Healthline Medical Advisors

Sample size
767K emails delivered — N = 384 survey starts

Sampling error
Margin of error +/- 6 – 7% depending on the specific question

Recruitment period
July – August 2023

Physicians and Consumers Asynchronous Care + AI Survey

Survey method
Suzy on-demand platform with initial screening question to identify US adults who attended a doctor appointment in the past 12 months

Sample size
N = 571 consumers qualified as having attended a doctor appointment

Sampling error
Margin of error +/- 4% at the 95% confidence level

Recruitment period
July – August 2023