The Role of Marketers in Telehealth

Apr 28, 2021 | Hospital Solutions

Driving to the doctor’s office, filling out paperwork, and seeing a physician face-to-face are aspects of the traditional healthcare delivery system to which we are accustomed. When telehealth was introduced, it was classified as a “disruptive technology” that the healthcare industry assumed would negatively impact standard care delivery. 

Following its debut, telehealth saw slow growth and steady acceptance from patients. Then everything changed with the hit of COVID-19 and telemedicine services grew by more than 1000% in March and more than 4000% in April 2020. Telehealth’s popularity grew exponentially and it is not likely to disappear when returning to life after the pandemic. Telehealth is here to stay and is an integral channel of every savvy hospital marketer’s strategic plan. Below are three imperatives to consider to ensure success:

  1. Access
    With the implementation of telehealth, access to healthcare has improved. Patients no longer have to worry about coordinating work schedules and transportation needs - they can see a doctor without leaving the comfort of their own homes. Telehealth has decreased many of the challenges that most patients and physicians encounter in the traditional delivery setting. Sometimes patients and physicians speak different languages, and that language barrier can be frustrating and make it challenging to reach a full level of understanding. Many telehealth programs utilize translator tools, allowing a physician to invite a translator to join the call in most languages. Patient comfort levels increase as those barriers decrease. A simple user experience can also decrease barriers for the less tech-savvy patients. Doximity Dialer allows patients to join their appointment with a simple link sent via text message. By increasing accessibility and reducing patient barriers, and sharing those differentiators with patients, marketers can ensure telehealth patient volume continues to grow.

  2. Overall Patient Experience
    Patient experience has been a trending topic for years now, and it’s also key in telehealth. While marketers can’t control every aspect of the patient experience, it’s important to impact the ones you can and also to garner those positive reviews and share them in a notable way. Implementing a space to collect testimonials from patients and physicians is also a helpful tool, as these show other potential telehealth patients the hospital's technology is trustworthy and easy. At Doximity, patient experience is a top priority and we are constantly finding innovative ways to update and enhance the experience. We work with hospital marketing teams to help guide communication best practices. When creating materials to ensure patients have a smooth virtual appointment, a simple step-by-step guide or a quick video could potentially make all the difference.

  3. Physician Satisfaction
    Consumers crave authenticity from the products they are using, and telehealth is no different. Physicians are as much consumers of telehealth as patients and another key audience to consider. Just like a patient’s satisfaction comes from having the same quality of care that they originally would have received in the traditional healthcare setting, a physician needs to feel as comfortable using telehealth technology to conduct a visit as they would in the office. Listen to feedback from your physicians and support them with tools they can use to feel prepared to initiate and conduct telehealth visits. Physician adoption is inherently easier when the system’s telehealth platform is one that’s reliable and extremely easy to use. Conducting medicine through a screen was not something originally taught in medical school; the concept of virtual care delivery is fairly new and may be out of a physician's comfort zone, and important for marketers to keep in mind when introducing telehealth. Encourage opportunities for your physicians to grow their skills and feel more comfortable when using a telehealth program. Host an event that showcases physicians who have adapted to telehealth and that brings physicians together to learn from one another's experiences - successes and failures. By communicating the value of virtual care, educating users on the technology, and fostering physician satisfaction, will in turn boost the patient experience. Make it a point to look out for your physician's best interests. It will go a long way. 

If you have any questions about telehealth, click here, to learn more about Doximity and Dialer Enterprise — our simple, secure telehealth platform for health systems.