Safe to say, no one is longing for a return to the days of toilet paper hoarding, masked grocery shopping and all-day Zoom calls. But not every pandemic-induced behavior has gone by the wayside. One noteworthy survivor is telemedicine, whose meteoric rise began just as the pandemic took off.
A strong telehealth program is becoming a competitive advantage for healthcare organizations that do it well. According to a recent McKinsey Report, the number of telemedicine encounters in 2020 increased between 50-175x nationwide. A Frost & Sullivan report released in May 2020 predicts that the market will grow more than 38% over the next four years. And pediatric providers are on board: According to a study of 787 pediatricians and clinicians by Chicago-based Health Mavens, 92% of respondents believe pediatric telemedicine will remain part of health practices in the future.
In a recent WriterGirl blog post, writer and content manager Melanie Graham offered some great strategies to help you market your organization’s telehealth platform. I’d like to build on that with a few tips for marketing pediatric telemedicine.
1. Accentuate the positive
During the pandemic, many parents scheduled telehealth visits for their kids because they had to. But now, even those who may have been skeptical about using telehealth before are coming around. Telemedicine benefits include:
- No hassles with traffic, travel or parking.
- A smaller time commitment (and no time in the doctor’s waiting room).
- No exposure to other people’s germs.
- A more relaxed setting for children, especially those who don’t enjoy going to the doctor’s office.
- The opportunity to include another adult in the appointment, who may not be able to participate in an in-person visit.
These are the types of positive benefits to emphasize when promoting pediatric telehealth in blog posts, social campaigns, websites and digital advertising. While video visits will never replace in-person appointments, they can be a convenient and desirable option.
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2. Keep it simple
For many parents, it can be hard to picture that first video visit going well. What if they can’t log on to the telemedicine platform? What if their child cries from start to finish? What if the camera doesn’t work or the internet connection fails?
To counteract these concerns, marketers need to emphasize ease of use. When marketing pediatric telemedicine, make sure your instructions, guidelines and set-up instructions:
- Use plain language — nothing fancy or jargony.
- Include screenshots and other visuals.
- Use numbered or bulleted lists.
- Feature quotes or testimonials from families who have used telehealth successfully.
3. Communicate insurance coverage
Another barrier to overcome relates to uncertainty about cost. Most insurance providers cover at least some form of telemedicine, but guidelines may change. To ease any worries parents may have:
- Emphasize that video visits are often covered by insurance.
- Encourage parents to check coverage with their insurance provider before scheduling a video visit.
- Be up-front about your organization’s telehealth prices — both for people with insurance and without.
- See if your organization can offer a flat rate for people who prefer to pay out-of-pocket.
4. Make it a team effort
Marketing pediatric telemedicine has to be a team effort, with buy-in from pediatrician offices, specialty practices, physicians and other providers. One way to encourage collaboration is to share resources. You’ll find many for free on the internet, including:
- A helpful “getting started” checklist from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Materials from the Department of Health and Human Services that help providers make the most of telemedicine.
- Resources from the American Medical Association, including this blog post to help doctors improve their “webside manner.”
5. Target families whose children have special needs
Primary care visits are a natural fit for telemedicine, but opportunities abound for specialty care appointments as well. “Telehealth is very handy, especially for established patients,” says Bob DeFoor Jr., MD, MPH, a pediatric urologist at Cincinnati Children’s (a WriterGirl client). “It’s ideal for follow-up appointments for conditions such as voiding dysfunction, bedwetting and frequent urinary tract infections, where you’re mainly providing education and adjusting medications, but a clinical exam is less critical for decision making.”
Even children with complex medical needs can receive some of the care they need via telehealth. “A lot of the kids we see are wheelchair or ventilator dependent. Bringing them into the hospital for a clinic appointment is a significant ordeal,” Dr. DeFoor says. “Some live many hours away, and others just don’t need an in-person visit because we can provide the counseling and care they need remotely.”
A letter, email or Facebook post targeting parents of these kids can keep telemedicine top of mind when the time comes to schedule their child’s next appointment.
Keep your eye on the big picture
Telemedicine is here to stay, and the kids who use it now are likely to continue doing so as adults. That means your marketing efforts could pay off well into the future. And build your organization’s reputation for providing accessible care when and where families need it.
Find a marketing partner who can help you reach your audience and goals. WriterGirl can provide custom healthcare writing for your pediatric telemedicine marketing plan. Reach out to us any time to get started.