Asynchronous Remote Communication as a Tool for Care Management in Primary Care: A Rapid Review of the Literature

Int J Integr Care. 2022 Aug 11;22(3):7. doi: 10.5334/ijic.6489. eCollection 2022 Jul-Sep.


Aim: To review the available evidence on asynchronous communication models between primary care professionals and patients in different countries around the world in order to analyse the added value that this model brings to patients and professionals.

Design: A rapid literature review was conducted using the World Health Organisation guidance to include a variety of studies on the concept of asynchronous communications between primary care and patients in different countries.

Data sources: The search for articles was carried out in PubMed and Google Academics and with the contribution of telemedicine experts from the Catalan Institute of Health.

Selection of studies: The review included 271 articles. The inclusion criteria were: publications from 2010 onwards, in English, Spanish or Catalan, focused on asynchronous communications between primary care professionals and patients to improve patient management. After discarding duplicates and applying the exclusion criteria (255 articles), 16 were included for further review.

Data extraction: The rapid literature review was conducted by an evaluator; detecting 5 main general themes: reduction of face-to-face visits, available services and most frequent uses, characteristics and perceptions of primary care professionals, characteristics and perceptions of users, and barriers and facilitators for the implementation of asynchronous teleconsultation.

Results: A total of sixteen studies were included, including seven quantitative studies, seven qualitative studies and two mixed studies.

Conclusions: The high degree of satisfaction of both users and professionals, the outbreak of COVID-19 and the effectiveness and efficiency of asynchronous remote communications are key factors for the implementation and improvement in the management of the different healthcare systems across the world.

Keywords: health systems plans; patient satisfaction; patients; primary health care; quality indicators; remote consultation.