Marketing Considerations for Telehealth Programs
Successful telehealth implementation often involves making patients aware of telehealth options and encouraging
uptake of services. Rural programs will need to market new telehealth programs to community members to promote
participation. For example, the Virtual Infusion Project
created posters for local providers' offices reminding patients to ask about the possibility of receiving
infusion services close to home. The Alaska Veterans
Telehealth and Biofeedback Services program used local newspapers, radio stations, sponsored Facebook
posts, and word-of-mouth referrals to reach its target audience. Having a self-referral option is also important
in rural areas to ensure confidentiality.
Rural communities may need to consider the following questions when marketing telehealth programs:
What kinds of communication channels reach patients in this community? Options
for engagement may include local newspapers, radio stations, and social media. When determining
the appropriate communication channel, rural programs should consider the characteristics of the
target population (age, primary language, and other factors).
What kinds of partnerships can be leveraged to reach patients? Rural communities
can engage a range of stakeholders to market telehealth programs. Other providers could be
interested in making referrals for their patients. For example, emergency care physicians can
refer patients to telemental health services. Social service agencies, community-based
organizations, and faith-based institutions could also help make patients aware of telehealth
What kind of internal marketing strategies are needed? In addition to marketing
telehealth services to people outside of the organization, telehealth programs may need to make
internal staff aware of services and offer training about how to use them. Other staff members
can refer patients to telehealth services and facilitate warm handoffs.
What kinds of benefits of telehealth will resonate with the target audience?
Some populations may prioritize convenience and the ability to receive care close to home. Others
may be interested in additional tools to manage chronic health conditions. Understanding the
target audience for telehealth will help rural programs develop the most appropriate messages to
What kinds of concerns about telehealth could affect adoption? Programs may need
to address potential concerns associated with telehealth in their marketing materials, including
privacy, confidentiality, and safety. Rural communities should also consider stigma associated
with certain conditions, including mental and behavioral health conditions.
Resources to Learn More
Marketing Plan Development: A Step by Step Guide
Serves as a template and provides information and tools to identify, develop, and implement strategies for
hospitals and clinics to promote telehealth
Organization(s): California Telehealth Resource Center
Marketing: The Path to Patients, Profits and PR
Describes the key elements of marketing telehealth programs. Reviews common marketing mistakes and
methods to improve marketing strategies for telehealth programs.
Author(s): Desai, N.
Organization(s): National Consortium of Telehealth Research Centers