While lockdowns are ending and states are reopening, our industry experts believe that telehealth is here to stay. PatientPop’s CTO Christophe Louvion and DialogTech’s VP of Product Marketing Jennifer Bassik discuss how telehealth is impacting the healthcare industry and how healthcare marketers can quickly pivot to a telehealth-centric landscape.
Check out the full conversation, PatientPop on How Telehealth is Redefining Healthcare Marketing, for all of Christophe and Jennifer’s insights. And for all of the top takeaways from the on-demand video interview, read on.
How the COVID-19 Crisis Accelerated the Rise of Telehealth
While telehealth has been around for a while, before the COVID-19 crisis, patient demand for virtual appointments was low. But when COVID-19 hit, everything changed.
For PatientPop, a platform that helps healthcare practices with their marketing and operations across all digital touchpoints in the patient journey, they had thousands of doctors reach out and ask about telehealth solutions. While providing a telehealth platform was on PatientPop’s roadmap, it was scheduled for launch in 2022. But with the onset of the COVID-19 crisis and the immediate spike in demand for telehealth, this post-it note in the roadmap for two years from now suddenly became the top priority — and PatientPop launched their new telehealth solution in a matter of weeks.
Ultimately, though telehealth has been available for over ten years, nothing new has led to dramatic innovation in the telemedicine space — until now. Now, patients are looking for telehealth options and providers want to become telehealth-savvy. And now, people are starting to understand that telehealth goes beyond just a video call. It encompasses video chat, the phone call, texts, and emails. It’s about bringing the healthcare experience outside of the doctor’s office and making it more accessible and connected.
How Healthcare Providers and Practices Are Adapting
While privacy concerns and technology roadblocks were areas of friction for healthcare providers beginning to adopt telehealth solutions, they weren’t the biggest hurdle that providers and practices had to face. According to Christophe, the bigger issue was embracing the shift to running a business virtually.
From redirecting phone calls to a remote workforce to providing a positive patient experience virtually, the shift to telehealth involves taking an industry that has relied on face-to-face interaction and flipping it on its head.
But providers and practices are ready to adapt. Of course, this shift doesn’t happen overnight. Even if a practice starts employing a HIPAA-compliant telehealth solution, they still have to make it a seamless experience for patients. That involves updating information on their website, on their phone systems, and on local business pages on their availability, hours, booking information, copay information, and so much more.
How the Rise of Telehealth Will Lead to Greater Communication and Personalization in Healthcare
Times of crisis often lead to big shifts in behavior. Christophe expects to see the demand for telehealth remain even after the COVID-19 crisis subsides. In fact, a recent PatientPop customer survey revealed that one-third of practices foresee one-third of their visits remaining virtual after the pandemic ends.
The COVID-19 crisis has made people realize that talking to their doctor isn’t something that needs to happen in the office. And as more healthcare practices are figuring out how to care for patients virtually, they’re realizing that it’s often easier and more efficient for providers and patients alike.
For both Christophe and Jennifer, they anticipate seeing greater provider-patient communication and higher levels of personal care with the continued adoption of telehealth. With telehealth, patients can continue seeing their doctors when they’re on vacation or even after they move away. And even if patients aren’t sick, telehealth allows providers to provide updates, ask questions, or check in on patients more easily through channels like email or text that weren’t leveraged much before.
After all, we’re already accustomed to so many other virtual, personalized experiences in other parts of our lives — why not healthcare, too?
For healthcare providers who have already adopted a telehealth solution, Christophe recommends working on breaking down any misconceptions. For example, patients might think they need high-speed internet or a lot of bandwidth to schedule a telehealth visit. But even if a video call isn’t an option, talking to the provider over a phone call is still beneficial.
As for any practices hesitant to adopt telehealth, Christophe encourages them to take stock of all of their office activities and put a checkmark by every activity that could be performed virtually. Then, look for partners that can help fulfill each of these needs.
Looking for ways to increase awareness of your telehealth services, better allocate ad spend for digital promotion of telehealth services, and provide frictionless experiences that drive patient loyalty? Check out this post: 4 Strategies to Support Your Telehealth Program with Call Tracking & Analytics.
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