Lesson 21 – How to market telehealth services

The beautiful thing about telemedicine is that it doesn’t have any boundaries around office locations (unlike the services you offer at your offices, telehealth can be delivered to anyone residing far away from your locations as well).

The is part of a series of lessons in our medical marketing course. For the entire course, please check out our medical marketing lessons.

Offering telehealth services and beginning to market telehealth services are just the first steps of creating a line of business around telemedicine. As with any other service offering, you need to have a plan around generating new patient appointments, retaining patients and generating more revenues via recalls etc. i.e. the same medical marketing rules apply here.

  1. Why market telehealth services?

    Trust me – telehealth is here to stay. COVID just sped up the process of telehealth adoption. We market for providers each day and have found more and more patients wanting telehealth services.
    The beautiful thing about telemedicine is that it doesn’t have any boundaries around office locations (unlike the services you offer at your offices, telehealth can be delivered to anyone residing far away from your locations as well). Plus it is DIRT cheap to service a telehealth visit. No technicians, no equipment, no office space needed.. It costs pennies to service a patient. Meanwhile, you can charge 100x that 🙂 The sad part is that you cannot charge for the typical tests and CPTs you would, if the patient is in the office.

  2. Explain the steps and strategies to your team(s)

    You either need a rock solid front desk staff of your own or you need a medical call center team by your side. For paid marketing ads, you need a solid medical marketing team.

  3. Add telemedicine as a service offering on your website

    First things first, add this line of service on your website. Make sure that on your website’s contact us form, you allow patients to select televisit appointment as one of the appointment choices.
    Trust me – Just because you have added telehealth as a service offering today, doesn’t mean that you will be flooded with appointment requests before you are ready. It takes time for google to “catch up”. Add it today.

  4. Fax ALL providers in the city 🙂

    Send a fax or email to ALL the providers in your city letting them know about your services. For in office visits, you could only market your practice to providers near your office locations. But, for telehealth, there are no boundaries. Market to everyone in the city. Who cares? Even if 10% of them refer patients to you, imagine how many new patients you can acquire that way!

  5. Send personalized faxes to your current referring partners

    Send a personalized fax to all your referring provider partners letting them know that you are available to service their patients. Your current partners HAVE to know that they can now refer patients to you for televisits as well. If you want to send a fax blast instead of sending individual faxes, you can use providers like openfax.com. These guys will even allow you to send personalized faxes (some limitations there).

  6. Advertise on Facebook and Google.

    We advertise on Facebook and Google. Out of the two, we had better luck on Facebook. The most important thing to remember is that when you get an incoming appointment request from your paid ads on facebook and google, you HAVE to respond within a few mins. Make sure your team is ready to do so. We have noticed that if you respond after 30 mins or so, the patient has already decided on someone else. The same goes for zocdoc as well. You need to respond REALLY fast.

  7. Do regular posts on Google My Business around telemedicine

    We are having HUGE success by posting regularly on Google my business. Posting on Google My Business alone has increased our traffic and interest from prospective patients substantially (for our healthcare customers).

  8. Community outreach

    We found that not many practices do this kind of community outreach. We have been doing this for our healthcare customers for almost 2 years now with decent success. Start community outreach initiatives via the phone or postal mail to all zip codes that you can afford to. For this, you need to buy people data from data providers like InfoUSA (if you want to call in addition to sending postcards). If you only intend to send postcards, you can also use USPS itself.
    Start by sending postcards. We typically mail postcards, then the week after, we start calling. We alternate between leaving a voicemail and not doing so. Our approach is that a person should hear exactly twice from us each month. No more, no less.

  9. Prepare for community outreach calls

    This is quite simple. Head over to data providers like infousa.com and simply purchase a list of patients that fit your criteria (e.g. people 40+, near zipcode of your choice etc). Before you start using their data to call patients you will have to register with the Do not call registry as well. There are a few, very simple steps to take before you can start a community outreach campaign. However, once you take those steps, you are good to go for an entire year (they will give you a SAN and ORG ID)

  10. Prepared a list of patients to call

    Hopefully you use a healthcare CRM as this becomes very easy to do if you use one. If you do not use one, then login to your EMR and search/filter for patients that had appointments within a specific date range of your choice (e.g. March 16th 2020 through April 30, 2020)

    Call Patients from the resulting patient list.

  11. Prepare your script(s) for calling patients with cancelled appts

    Here’s a sample of a script we have used for one of our clients.
    “Hello, I am calling from <your practice name>. Can I speak with… “
    Then usual “how are you doing/feeling etc “ …small chat as usual.. ..
    “Well, I’m calling because we had to cancel your appt recently and upon reviewing your chart, our doctor recommended that we set up a video call with you and our doctor. This will help the doctor determine your care plan.”

  12. Call no-show and cancelled patients

    Start calling patients that had cancelled in the recent past or have no-showed in the recent past. We typically start with a list of 2 months of such patients. What we find out is that many patients were a no-show or cancelled due to work reasons. Being able to do a televisit allows them to not have to travel and not have to take time off of work. This alone had allowed us to conduct 4,500+ televisits for one of our eye care customers.

  13. Prepare your script(s) for calling patients with upcoming appts

    “Hello, I am calling from <your practice name>. Can I speak with… “
    Then usual “how are you doing/feeling etc “ …small chat as usual.. ..
    “Well, I’m calling because you have an upcoming appt on < date time > and upon reviewing your chart, our doctor recommended that we set up a video call with you and our doctor. This will help us determine your care plan and next steps..”

  14. COVID specific tactic

    Start calling patients with future appointments to see if they would be better served by staying at home and offer them telehealth services. We started doing this because during COVID, our customers’ in-office appointments were at a premium. When you are doing televisits, you cannot run tests (most tests) on a patient. For this, you need to have in office visits. For some preventive care/maintenance visits, our patient contact center team works with our customers’ providers to identify patients that can be served via televisits. They, then call those patients and offer them televisits.

  15. Prepare your script for community outreach

    “Hello, I am calling from <your practice name>. Can I speak with… “

    Then usual “how are you doing/feeling etc “ …small chat as usual.. ..

    “We are calling all members in communities around our offices in Bronx, Jackson Heights, Jamaica to let them know that we are still seeing all emergency eye care patients. In addition to that, our doctors are also seeing patients via video calls. If you know of someone that needs help related to eye care, could you please let me know?”

    … answer questions etc etc.. 

    The goal here is NOT to have the patient make an appointment with your provider, but rather, to be aware of your service offering.

    So, while the patient is on the call with your agent, use this script

    “Why don’t I send you an SMS with our locations and phone numbers so you can forward it to friends and family?”
    OR
    “Sure, I can set you up with a video call appt with one of our eye doctors”

  16. Prepare your script for when a patient agrees to a televisit appt

    …. Pt response… If they are good to go.. (not DECLINED) .. Explain how a televisit works and what the patient should expect before, during and after the video visit.

    “Cool. The way video calls with our doctors works is this..”
    First, I will get you an appt date/time that works for you and our doctor.
    Then I will send you an SMS with the appt confirmation.. You will get a link where you can confirm your appointment, change or reschedule your appointment.. everything.
    Of course, you can take the video call from your home computer or your phone that most have a camera
    Next, our system will send you a reminder 30 mins before the appt and also 15 mins before your appt 
    At the time of your appointment, the doctor will start the call and you’ll get an SMS with the link to the video call web page. You just click on the link, enter your mobile number, your DOB and the doctor will see you.
    If you face ANY problems, just call us at <your practice phone number> and we will help you.
    When your appt starts, the doctor will ask your the regular diagnostic questions, specific questions about your vision, your problem, examine you the best they can over the video and after that, they’ll recommend next steps”

    … answer any other questions..

  17. Prepare your billers / medical billing team 🙂

    This is pretty crucial – look at how to schedule and get paid for telemedicine .. just a few gotchas there.


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