Birmingham,AL – When faced with circumstances that are beyond our means of control, humanity has always found a way adapt. A few ways we tend to overcome obstacles include finding new resources, changing habits, and utilizing technology to suit our needs. This is especially true with Covid-19. States and countries that require their citizens to modify their behavior by wearing masks, and avoiding large gatherings, have reduced the spread of the virus.
One of the biggest facets of society that has required the most adaptation is the medical field. It is hard to sterilize and prevent the spread of germs in hospitals as a general rule of thumb, let alone a virus that has no cure to speak of. So medical specialists, hospitals, and other branches that are related are trying their best to decrease the spread of this new disease. And one of the big ways they are doing that is through telehealth. But what is telehealth, and what does that mean for healthcare marketing?
What is Telehealth?
A portmanteau of telecommunications and healthcare, telehealth is when doctors appointments, counseling, and other adjacent medical services are being done over the phone, internet, and/or video services. While it isn’t a relatively new concept in science fiction we are seeing a more defined role of technology in healthcare in the past few years.
But because it is still a burgeoning field of medicine we don’t understand all that much about its long term results, or if there are any benefits compared to traditional platforms of patient consultation. Is something like this even worth the time in the healthcare marketing sphere? The only way to find out is to look at the present data we have now to get some idea how technology is shaping the medical world.
Clinicians Are Seeing an Easier Workload
People can get sick any time of the day, and any day of the week. Emergencies happen. Add understaffing to the mix, as well as, the occasional lack of supplies, sudden patient overloads, and freakish circumstances like Covid-19 and you can see that it is enough to send any healthcare worker, no matter how seasoned, into a mental breakdown. Especially when you add the stressful conditions of lawsuits and 24 hour shifts.
When you put all of these obstacles into perspective, you start to see that there are a host of needs that need to be met for these workers. They need to see more patients at night, have fewer hours, and a lower workload overall. Some of these interests seem to be directly opposed to one another. However, Telehealth has helped fulfill those needs.
Larger hospital chains are starting to adopt a telehospitalist program, where night shift workers, are answering and setting up appointments overnight. So far, it seems to be working out in the favor of doctors and patients by filling in the gap for critical care. According the Healthcareitnews.com “The presenters pointed to the program’s results at select partner critical access hospitals, it led to an increase in pre-midnight admissions for patients who presented between 2 and 11 PM, as well as a decrease in the time to see patients.”
This is a big advantage for hospitals, patients, and is a positive sign for companies that are focusing more on technology in the healthcare marketing world.
Patients Respond Positively To Telehealth, Another Healthcare Marketing Bonus
Of course, those numbers mean nothing compared to what patients think about adopting technology in the world of healthcare. After all, most people are often either afraid to embrace new technology, or are outright resistant because they think it won’t benefit everyone. However, in an almost shocking twist, not just patients, but senior citizens are becoming quick to adopt telehealth practices in wake of the pandemic.
Perhaps it is the gravity of the situation, or maybe there is another need that telemedicine is fulfilling, but in either case it is enough for 300% of senior citizens, the most vulnerable and headstrong of the population, to adopt telemedicine during the pandemic. MobiHealth News stated that “More than 40% of the respondents say they have used telemedicine since the start of the pandemic, with 30% saying they’ve used it once a month. ” That means at least 70% of the surveyed senior citizen population are not only aware of telemedicine, they outright use it.
But it is not only making waves in the senior citizen communities. Mental health patients are also benefiting from this shift to appointments over video. The New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Center after converting almost all of their appointments to telehealth practices had this to say of the results. “We have seen increased engagement with our clients and a higher compliance rate,” Klein reported. “While previously someone would miss an appointment due to weather or various other factors, now these sessions can be held virtually without any issue.”
So not only are doctors onboard, but patients are to. Both sides seem to see the appeal of telehealth in the healthcare mix. So, its mention in healthcare marketing can only increase value in the healthcare marketplace. And there is data to prove it.
Telehealth in the Healthcare Marketing Mix is Profitable
Anyone who has been furloughed, unemployed, or have seen their hours cut drastically know that Covid has drastically changed their lives. While the dead can’t pay taxes or work, that does not make the economic impact any easier. However, there is one company that has not felt the pain in the slightest. In fact they made a record profit in the second quarter of 2020.
WELL, a corporate owned clinic shifted to telehealth at the start of the pandemic, and has since grown the number of telehealth practitioners over the following months. They also made sure that patients were aware in their healthcare marketing mix that it was a viable option. The result was an economic explosion. “WELL achieved record quarterly revenue of $10,578,144 and gross profit of $4,226,831 during the 3 months ended June 30, 2020 representing 43% and 88% YoY growth respectively.”
Because it made people feel safer, and it was easier for healthcare workers to handle, the addition of telehealth in the healthcare marketing mix has been nothing but a positive impact. These three different avenues all yielded positive results for everyone involved. At this point it is safe to say that any hospital or healthcare practice that cannot find a way to incorporate a remote option for circumstances that do not require an in person meeting is missing out. Only a fool would waste the opportunity to merge telehealth in your healthcare marketing plan.