30,000 new patients? Free consults? Tele-health/Telemedicine takes off. (But can doctors compete?)

(A 3-minute read but great content to explore to get the deeper story! I am going to bookend this post.)

Here’s a novel idea: maybe Biopharma can expand their business model to include tele-health services and develop this new revenue stream and offer it to large health systems?

These past few weeks seemed like “Tele-health Month” in my email and in the content I read weekly. But as usual amidst all the noise, market and human realities need to be considered. Before we get to the take-off of tele-health, let’s look at the current leader of the treatment model — the doctor.

Tele-health vendors are filling in some vital cracks in the health system. Doctors in large systems or in private practice need to be aggressive with their digital patient outreach or fall further into non-relevance. Do they need to be convinced? Do the tele-health service companies threaten their practice future?

Yes, on all fronts. Medical Economics, a great HCP site, posted an article on the “Top 7 reasons physicians should consider telemedicine”. While the reasons are good ones, anyone close to the shifting dynamics of the industry have to wonder if the article is for Luddites or those already left behind. You could say that doctors are already emailing with patients through their EHR Portal, but most of us know that is usually a notice about tests or a non-committal note about appointments.

HealthTap is pushing the limits very well. In a great, smart and moving email from HealthTap those who suffered from Hurricane Matthew are offered free consults, a perfect reason for tele-health and one that creates market share:

I think this is a brilliant example of smart marketing; this free offers is an obvious and dramatically relevant reason to engage with telehealth. Add the humanity/compassion of their free offer and you see how fast this could be adopted. When marketing and compassion come together, it always wins.

Then, I receive an email from American Well, stating:

“Learn how Southwest Medical Associates enrolled more than 30,000 patients in telehealth and conducted more than 20,000 telehealth visits.” Clearly not a boast, but a tipping point.


Have any of you engaged with such smartphone/tablet services? Does it feel “right” or is it still working out the kinks on what those tele-docs can do or say?

And those doctors sitting in their offices with the lineup of patients? Maybe the real worry is for those doctors — 60% + of all practices — who sold themselves to a hospital system and are paralyzed because of their loss of prescribing, and the 15-minute-per-patient performance metric. The days of waiting are nearly over. The days of lean-in and engage are here.

Here’s a novel idea: maybe Biopharma can expand their business model and develop this new revenue stream and offer it to large health systems?

If you want to discuss this, or any topic in the world of Customer-centricity, where analytic/insight meet marketing and success, call or write.

7 Things an Oncologist Should Never Say to a Patient.

Summary: 2-minute read: this is an heart-felt article on CancerNetwork about one oncologists honest admission of what NOT to say to a cancer patient. So many of us focus on aiding or informing the doctor/patient dialogue, but here is an example of the reality patients face. We need to understand this because emotion is a part of the discussion, and we marketers shy away from any emotional language or communication.

Guilt, insensitivity, myopia, lack of emotional intelligence, there are so many verbal sins that come from these…

What are the 7 things? 

“I’m afraid i have bad news.”

“Is there some reason you did not see your doctor when this started?”

“You’re just wasting your money taking supplements.”

“I don’t want you leaving town.”

“If you had not smoked, this would not have happened to you.”

“You have (insert number) months left to live.”

“This treatment will not make you sick.”

Here’s the entire article; for each statement, the doctor supplies straight-forward, common sense reasons why each is harmful to the patient. Some of this is blindingly obvious. Still, it provides empathy and clarity around how to communicate.


7 things first screen 7.4.16

Thank you CancerNetwork and Dr Craig Hildreth.

As always, in a world where automation and technology seem to have taken over many marketing conversations, humanity and empathy still rule the day as the most effective form of communication.