This is the second in a two-part series about how life science brands are thinking about telehealth. Check out the first post, 5 questions to ask about telehealth for your brand. For those of you who saw the first in Ostro’s two-part telehealth series, you know that we spent some time covering questions that life science brands should ask to determine whether telehealth might be a good fit for their product.
For those of you who saw the first in RxDefine’s two-part telehealth series, you know that we spent some time covering questions that life science brands should ask to determine whether telehealth might be a good fit for their product. (Missed that article from Mike Goulart? Check it out here.)
If you’ve done your due diligence and decided that telehealth might be a good option for your therapeutic area and patient population, then it’s time to move on to the next decision:
What telehealth provider is right for you?
There are a lot of options out there, and it seems like more pop up everyday. But telehealth isn’t a fad - and you have to make sure you don’t choose a provider who has hastily built a solution to capitalize on a fad. In this article, we cover 5 things you should look for when assessing telehealth vendors.
There are two ways to do telehealth: One is to try to dump consumers right into a telehealth flow, without gathering any meaningful information leading up to it. The other is to learn more about what the consumer might want and need before connecting them with a clinical practitioner.
On the one hand, the first approach certainly seems like the quickest way to get someone talking to a clinician. But is it really the right approach for the consumer?
With the second method, you have the opportunity to understand what your consumers really need before they go down the telehealth path - and also answer any initial questions around usage, side effects, and more that may not require a clinician. By doing this, you increase consumer engagement while also building trust in your brand, which makes it even more likely that consumers who do choose telehealth will then get the full benefits it provides. (In fact, RxDefine has found that consumers who have a pre-consult interaction are 2-4 times more likely to actually complete a telehealth consultation.)
Before going with a telehealth provider, make sure you understand what they offer in terms of the pre-consult experience.
It’s easy enough to lose a consumer’s attention when they’re visiting your website - and it’s even easier to lose them when you have to charge them for it. Telehealth visits cost consumers money, of course, and that’s not going to change. But how much money is a key question for most consumers when seeking a provider. Telehealth pricing that is both affordable and transparent puts consumers in control and lets them quickly determine if a consultation is the right financial choice for them.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to be clear on your expectations and the telehealth provider’s capabilities. Telehealth regulations are complex, and they vary from state-to-state and by treatment area. Because of that, it’s very possible some providers can’t serve all states - and it’s important that you know if that’s the case from the outset.
Telehealth isn’t necessarily a video call - it can take multiple different forms. When you’re choosing a telehealth provider, make sure you ask about the different ways they can collect patients to clinicians.
Ideally, a telehealth provider should be able to offer both synchronous telehealth (a live, real-time conversation between a clinician and a patient) as well as asynchronous telehealth (a back-and-forth exchange over time, often via a messaging service within a patient platform). Consumers have different preferences for how they’ll want to receive care, so giving them the maximum amount of choice is a great way to drive engagement.
Telehealth is principally about enabling patients to connect with clinicians to meet an immediate need. But it’s also important to understand the insights you can gather as part of that process that will help you serve your target population even better in the future.
When talking to a potential telehealth provider, make sure you have a full grasp of what analytics and insights they will help you unlock as part of the solution. Will you be getting engagement and behavioral trends? What about demographic trends? How is this data gathered and collected, and how does the provider ensure compliance?
While patient service comes first, don’t let data be an afterthought.
Not all telehealth solutions are created equal - and if you want to make sure you’re choosing the one that’s right for your brand and right for your patient population, you have to make sure you’ve asked all the right questions. Are there more features you look for in a telehealth solution that we didn’t mention here? Leave us a comment and let us know!
This is the second in a two-part series about how life science brands are thinking about telehealth. You can read the first post, “5 questions to ask about telehealth for your brand,” here.
Got questions about telehealth for life sciences? Drop us a line.