Review of Use of Asynchronous Technologies Incorporated in Mental Health Care

Steven Chan, Luming Li, John Torous, David Gratzer, Peter Mackinlay Yellowlees

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Mental health clinicians should understand how technologies augment, enhance, and provide alternate means for the delivery of mental healthcare. These technologies can be used asynchronously, in which the patient and the clinician need not be communicating at the same time. This contrasts with synchronous technologies, in which patient and clinician must communicate at the same time. Recent Findings: The review is based on research literature and the authors’ clinical and healthcare administration experiences. Asynchronous technologies can exist between a single clinician and a single patient, such as patient portal e-mail and messaging, in-app messaging, asynchronous telepsychiatry via store-and-forward video, and specialty patient-to-provider mobile apps. Asynchronous technologies have already been used in different countries with success, and can alleviate the psychiatric workforce shortage and improve barriers to access. Multiple studies referred to in this review demonstrate good retention and acceptability of asynchronous psychotherapy interventions by patients. Summary: Asynchronous technologies can alleviate access barriers, such as geographical, scheduling, administrative, and financial issues. It is important for clinicians to understand the efficacy, assess the ethics, and manage privacy and legal concerns that may arise from using asynchronous technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number85
JournalCurrent Psychiatry Reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Asynchronous telepsychiatry
  • Clinical informatics
  • Mental health service delivery
  • Messaging and communication technology
  • Smartphone apps
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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