Anyone who has visited the doctor lately has likely noticed a major change in the way their office does business. In the wake of COVID-19, many providers have begun to offer, or even require, telehealth appointments. But while the sudden growth of the telehealth field may seem like a direct consequence of the pandemic, in actuality, the field has seen tremendous growth for the past several years. According to the American Medical Association, telehealth insurance claims increased by 53% between 2016 and 2017. This comes as more states move to allow telehealth availability and reimbursement.
As a marketer, it's important to recognize this growing trend. One of the biggest challenges marketers will face is keeping the patient's interest beyond COVID-19.
There's no denying the facts. Telehealth has seen rapid growth over the past few years. But prior to COVID-19, only a small share of providers offered telehealth services as a standard part of operating procedures. According to one study, in 2016, only 11.2% of healthcare providers used telehealth options for provider-to-provider communication, and just over 15% worked in a setting where telehealth was an option for most patients. However, over the next few years, this is expected to change for a few key reasons:
- Changing patient behavior: While the world is anxious to get back to, "normal," the truth is, the pandemic has changed the way people think and act. As patients look for ways to minimize contact and exposure, they will continue to embrace telehealth options. When patients look for this option, it's important you make this information easily accessible. Additionally, the US has seen a sharp rise in remote options and workplace flexibility. As this continues, consumers will continue to look for options to access healthcare on the go.
- Mobile applications: Patients aren't just looking for a new way to talk to their doctor and get healthcare advice, they're also looking for ways to take control of their health. Mobile devices allow patients and doctors to take a more active role through telehealth apps. According to HealthWorksCollective, there are currently over 97,000 health and fitness applications on the market. 52% of Americans use these apps to collect health-related data and 40% of doctors say these apps may lessen the number of in-office visits. The growth in mobile applications will provide more reliable and convenient options to help doctors and patients monitor healthcare concerns.
- New technology: With changes in insurance coverage and greater telehealth parity laws, the focus on innovative and accessible technology will only continue to increase. As the demand increases, technology will continue to grow to offer these services to populations most in need, including the elderly and patients in rural areas. While patients traditionally use a computer or mobile device to access telehealth services, developers and doctors continue to look for new ways to keep vulnerable populations connected.
More and more patients are beginning to embrace the idea of telehealth services. As options continue to grow, patients will start to look for offices that offer these services. With the changing global climate, it's important you put these services front and center in your marketing campaign.
At excelerate Digital, we work with you to create an engaging marketing campaign to take your business to the next level. Our team of experienced marketing professionals will analyze your market, help you create goals, and implement a strategy that is right for you. As the market continues to change and grow, you don't want to be left behind. To learn more about how we can help or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.