As a provider or practice administrator, you were likely flooded with information regarding the telehealth service you eventually decided to implement and adopt at your practice. All of that information helped you to make an informed decision about that solution. It showed you the benefits, cost, vendor profile, and what you needed to do in order to implement that solution. Often when we are implementing these types of patient facing solutions, we forget about marketing them to our patient base. Why should they care that your practice has a telehealth solution? How will it benefit them? How do they use it? You should market to your patient base, too, in order to receive buy-in on telehealth. Marketing to them doesn’t have to be an expensive or arduous process, either. Before we get to how that works, let’s talk about why patients may be reluctant to adopt in the first place.
Patient Reluctance to Telehealth
When it comes down to it, every patient will have a different reason as to why they are reluctant to use virtual visits. Here are the top 5 reasons patients have refused to use telehealth according to SimpleVisit:
- Resisting change – Some patients refuse to utilize technology for exams and want to stick to seeing their doctors in-person.
- Overcoming awkwardness – Many patients feel awkward interacting with their provider virtually, but 64% of patients state they are open to the idea of virtual visits. This reluctance can be overcome.
- Understanding technology – Connection issues, multiple log-ins, and confusing steps to download and access platforms make patients reluctant to use virtual visits.
- Lack of awareness – Some patients are not even aware that your practice offers telehealth services, or they aren’t aware of what these services mean to them.
- Cost barriers – Depending on insurance carriers, telehealth visits may carry more cost than a typical exam room visit.
Now, let’s talk about marketing telehealth to your patient base to boost buy-in…
Update Your Website
If you are adding telehealth services to your offerings, you should update your website to let the general public know. For many patients, new and existing, this is where they go to find out information about what you provide, what your schedule is, and to make appointments. With the new healthcare climate, some patients may not be going into provider’s offices at all unless completely necessary. Your office offering telehealth may be a “make it or break it” decision for them and providers should take advantage of this easy marketing opportunity.
Be sure to list any pertinent information for patients online when updating your website. Is there anything in particular they need to know? If your particular vendor boasts about a certain benefit, you should, too. This may help entice buy-in with your patient base and attract new patients.
Does your practice currently collect patient email addresses? If they do, this is a great way to market your telehealth services to your patient base. These emails should include benefits, how easy it is to connect, if its app based, and why your patients should utilize this tool. If your practice has the bandwidth, you can create multiple emails to send to your patient base over a length of time. For some practices, it may only be possible to create one email due to lack of time or staff. If this is the case, send it more than once but wait a month or two and send it as a friendly reminder.
Coupling a call campaign with this, if possible, could reinforce the availability and benefit of telehealth services. As your office begins to make appointment reminder calls, have your staff begin to start conversations about virtual visits. If you are using an appointment reminder system, talk to your vendor about recording an automated message about these services.
Social Media Promotion
Another free way to market your practice’s utilization of telehealth is social media. On platforms like Facebook, your practice can talk about when a patient should schedule a telehealth visit and why. It is a quick and immediate way to disseminate information to your base. Keep in mind, this can’t be your only marketing strategy. A study done in 2019 concluded that only 6.4% of the people who like your Facebook business page will see your posts. So, while this is an easy, quick, simple, and cheap way to promote your services, it is not an end all, be all marketing tool.
Hire a Marketing Team
There are always other marketing tactics you can use to engage with your patient base and gain new patients. Some of these include SEO and SEA marketing initiatives like Google keywords, search ads, meta information, non-search ads, and more. All of this can help your practice be found by more individuals and market your telehealth services to a wider audience. The more individuals who know about what you have to offer, the more patients can utilize your services and receive care from your providers.
Has your practice taken steps to market services like telehealth to your practice? What tactics have worked for your clinic? Which have not? Let us know.
Are you looking to implement telehealth or looking for a marketing service to help you promote it? We can help. Visit us at our solutions marketplace today for more information or call us at 800.624.8832.
About the author,
Savanna is the Marketing Communication Specialist at Henry Schein MicroMD. She schedules emails to clients, prospects, and VARs, manages social media accounts, performs research, writes blogs and eBooks, and much more while helping to support the simple yet powerful MicroMD solutions.
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