As new technologies continue to transform everyday living, today’s patients are more interested and open than ever before to using telemedicine services.
- 77% of consumers are willing to see a healthcare provider virtually
- 70 percent of patients are comfortable communicating with their healthcare providers via text, email or video
With most Americans willing to use, or at least try, telemedicine, what is considered one of these services?
A subset of telehealth, telemedicine is the healthcare services and education provided across distance using telecommunications technology. An umbrella term for a variety of services, telemedicine includes follow-up visits, medication management, management of chronic conditions, specialist consultation and any other clinical services that can be provided remotely via secure video and audio connections. At the convergence of convenience and rising health costs, patients and healthcare companies look to telemedicine to support and fill gaps in current in-person services.
Marketing telemedicine services offers the exciting challenge of building patient trust with your healthcare brand by using the latest technology. At the intersection of rapidly changing technology and the personal nature of healthcare decision-making, the marketing solution is not to just throwing everything in your arsenal at potential users and seeing what sticks. Specific components of marketing telemedicine services require extra attention.
Buyer personas and journey
The many uses for telemedicine parallel the myriad of buyer personas that would use your technology. A one-size marketing solution will not dig deep enough into the individualized decision-making process that current and potential patients use to make their healthcare purchases. Positioning your unique telemedicine service to address specific patient needs more concretely than your competitors’ services creates and builds trust. Is it rural access to specialists, convenience for busy parents or follow-up for elderly patients? Healthcare decisions are personal. Although consumers of all ages are becoming more comfortable with technology, the choice to use technology is personal too. Therefore, these healthcare decisions require more thinking time than other purchasing decisions consumers usually make. Digging deeper into the buying personas and journeys of your current and potential patients allows your marketing strategy to pinpoint exactly who needs what information in order to choose your services.
Effective marketing strategies are built on the bedrock of data. Every healthcare company has an expert niche in their market, and comparative data assists in finding it. A full assessment of your healthcare company and your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses illuminates gaps that create competitive advantage.
Staff as a mouthpiece
Doctors, nurses and staff who discuss your telemedicine services with patients in person offer an invaluable opportunity to create potential product users. Word of mouth recommendations are indispensable in patients’ healthcare purchasing decisions. Medical professionals are in the business of saving lives, not selling products. However, when staff is educated about how to explain and offer telemedicine services in a simple, approachable way, patients are more willing to try services.
Marketing telemedicine services involves deliberate education: educating patients how to use your services, educating first-time users on the benefits of telemedicine and educating patients currently using your technology as it evolves. Creating a strategic marketing plan allows your healthcare company to think through and have answers for these educational situations. Proper positioning with education crumbles the narrative that telemedicine is confusing to use, complicated or overwhelming. Education assists patients, both first-time users and the tech-savvy, in trusting your healthcare brand and clearly seeing how your technology benefits them.
Creating and building trust with technology is one of the thrilling marketing challenges of today. As the telemedicine market saturates, pinpointing your healthcare company’s expert niche and intentionally marketing that to current and potential patients is essential. By diving deep into data and education, your marketing strategy can identify and amplify your telemedicine competitive advantage.
Excited to market your telemedicine services? Or just want to learn more?
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*Currently, 45% of the US population, or 147 million consumers, falls within the addressable telemedicine market.
*Nearly 75% of all doctor, urgent care and ER visits “are either unnecessary or could be handled safely and effectively over the phone or video,” according to the American Medical Association and Wellness Council of America.
*Telemedicine is projected to be a $19.7 billion industry in 2019.