If there's one thing that the Covid-19 pandemic taught the medical industry, it's that telehealth is here to stay.
Telehealth has exploded over the past year. What was once a necessity for doctors and patients to stay connected during the pandemic has become something patients desire and actively seek out.
If your practice offers telehealth services to interact with patients, your patients need to know! Here's how to effectively market your telehealth services to attract new patients and keep your existing patients happy.
"The New Normal": A Huge Opportunity for Telehealth
The Covid-19 pandemic forced society to adjust the way it does a lot of things. Healthcare delivery was obviously affected.
Many doctors initially saw telehealth as a temporary necessity – something to get them through the pandemic.
But those same doctors are realizing now is that telehealth is here to stay. Patients love the convenience of being able to see a doctor more quickly via video chat from the comfort of their own homes. Gone are the days of donning a mask, commuting across town, and waiting with dozens of other patients just to see a doctor.
Telehealth won't entirely replace the human interaction of seeing your doctor face-to-face – and telehealth doesn't work for every specialty. Sometimes you need to be in the same room.
But telehealth is a convenient way for patients to quickly see a doctor without the typical "in-office" experience. For those practices that embrace the changes telehealth has brought about, the challenge is for them to fit telehealth into their existing workflows in a way that improves their productivity and maximizes revenue while keeping a watchful eye on the quality of their patient care.
How to Doctors Can Leverage Telehealth Marketing Opportunities
Telehealth has made it clear that the physician-patient connection can be improved through technology that enhances the patient experience, practice operations, and the bottom line.
But a challenge remains for doctors who have chosen to embrace telehealth: how do they transition new and existing patients alike to virtually delivered care, even as the pandemic comes to an end?
Here are some great ways to market your medical practice’s telehealth services and get the word out:
- Update your website: Most prospective patients (and many current patients) seek out your website as their first "touchpoint" for finding information or choosing you as their doctor. Be sure to prominently feature your telemedicine opportunities on your website so patients know their options.
- Emphasize convenience. As vaccinations increase and the pandemic comes to an end, telehealth isn't "necessary" anymore. But patients still want it. Why? Convenience. In all of your messaging – regardless of where you communicate it – emphasize telehealth as a safe, convenient way for patients to get faster care.
- Use your patient portal. Many practices utilize patient portals for two-way secure communications. For returning patients, this can be a great place to communicate your telehealth capabilities.
- Leverage Search Engine Optimization and Paid Advertising. Telehealth capabilities can be a powerful differentiator among the local competition in your market. Chances are that patients who are doing their research online are comfortable with telehealth services, so these are natural channels to share information about your telehealth options.
- Consider your professional network. Telehealth can elevate the patient experience because of its convenience, so it's natural to use telehealth for patients who were referred to your practice. Thanks to telehealth, practices with an extensive referral network can see new patients faster than ever before. If that's you, reach out to your referring doctors and make sure they know about your telehealth capabilities.
- Present patient success stories. Nothing is more powerful than social proof of satisfied patients who enjoyed the convenience of engaging with your practice via telehealth. Getting existing patients on video speaking about their experience can be a powerful way to incentivize new patients to do the same.
- Prompt patients to review their telehealth experience. Don't just ask patients to review their in-office experience – ask telehealth patients for reviews of their virtual experience as part of your review collection process as well.
We Live in a Convenience Economy
More and more services have been moving online in recent years. Nowadays, you can do things on your phone that had never before been possible: hail a cab. Have groceries delivered. And now, even see a doctor.
The pandemic didn't start this trend – it only accelerated it.
As patients get more and more accustomed to experiencing services virtually that were once only performed in person, they will come to expect that convenience in every aspect of their lives.
Savvy doctors can capitalize on this trend by jumping on the telehealth train now.
Telehealth is here to stay. The only question: is your practice going to take advantage of this massive opportunity?