Consumers are begging for a more convenient and affordable way to get health care. Telehealth can be the solution.

Yet even consumers who want to take better care of their health sometimes need encouragement to use the right level of care. That’s why marketing and outreach is so important.

Sharing one example

AmericanWell, a telehealth operations and technology company, and Avera Health, a telemedicine network, recently presented a webinar on telehealth marketing.

In 2015, Avera Health added direct-to consumer telehealth services to complement their existing telemedicine network. They wanted to:

  1. Assist with diverting patients from unnecessary office-based and emergency room care.
  2. Create a strong affiliation with Avera primary care providers.
  3. Attract new patients.

The webinar focused on the trends and strategies that the company used to reach outside the brick-and-mortar practice to be exactly where their patients are – their homes.

Engaging consumers

doctor on computer

It was clear that potential consumers were out there; the challenge was to figure how to advise them on where to receive care. The company decided to meet people where they are and integrate it into their busy lives, which is why they partnered with Hy-Vee Grocery Stores. Hy-Vee is one of the top 25 supermarkets in the U.S. and is located within eight states.

AveraNow desks were placed in stores with kiosks. Next, the campaign partnered with Hy-Vee dieticians to do monthly promotions. Agents in stores then met with customers and helped answer questions about insurance.

Marketing efforts included:

  • TV commercials
  • Pullup banner ads in the stores
  • Hy-Vee signage
  • Front strip ad in local news publications
  • Radio ads
  • Digital billboards

Pursuing better health

Along the way, the campaign shared other messages about better health. A “Healthy You Mobile truck” brought services to the communities. Cross promotions in stores educated consumers on health awareness.

In March the campaign focused on colon health awareness under the title “Butt Seriously.” A table of toilet paper was displayed with the slogan and tagline that said “Butt Seriously – Get a Colonoscopy”. Signs that said “Butt Seriously – Eat more fiber” were placed next to fiber-rich foods.

An end-cap showed ready-to purchase healthy options and food information cards were displayed on different items. Promotions were everywhere, from cart corrals to the salad bar sneeze guard.

Boosting usage

So how well did the campaign outreach connect to greater usage of telehealth? Within the first 12 weeks of its launch, 2,500 individuals were enrolled with 372 visits. The majority of the campaign’s reach was millennial, working women and their families.

Better yet, patients liked it, with a patient satisfaction score of 4.71 out of 5 stars.

Consumerism in telehealth

group on cell phones

It’s clear that success marketing efforts must take advantage of the multiple factors that are driving consumers’ desire for telehealth. Consumers are motivated by:

  • Increasing deductibles and co-pays
  • Mobile technology
  • Need for convenience
  • Explosion of chronic conditions
  • Ease of receiving a prescription

This makes telehealth appealing to a large group of consumers. When an AmericanWell 2015 Consumer Survey asked 2,019 individuals if they would be willing to see a doctor over video, 64 percent of the individuals said “Yes” and 34 percent said “No.” (Alliance members also work with Teladoc, MDLive and MYidealDOCTOR).

For employers who want to capture the potential savings of telemedicine, it’s good news that there is a motivated market ready to adopt this new way of accessing health care. But as the success of this campaign shows, it takes marketing outreach to turn consumer motivation into telehealth success.

Tierney Anderson

Tierney Anderson

Senior Marketing & Events Specialist at The Alliance
Tierney Anderson joined The Alliance in 2009 and currently serves as the cooperative's marketing & events specialist. She previously served as marketing and member services coordinator. Her responsibilities include the development of effective communications and marketing materials for Alliance members and business partners by executing marketing plans and promoting products, services and events.

In addition to her work at The Alliance, Tierney is an active member on The Business Forum, previously serving on the board and acting as senior chair for the ATHENA committee. Tierney also participates in the Advertising Federation of Madison and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network of Madison.

Tierney earned her bachelor's degree of business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with an emphasis in information systems and a certification on the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

Read blog posts by Tierney.
Tierney Anderson