Does your health system’s brand matter when launching telehealth to your patients? What are the critical keys to success for launching video visits?
Intermountain, a not-for-profit health system based in Salt Lake City with 22 hospitals and 185 clinics, partnered with American Well to launch a telehealth service, Intermountain Connect Care, in early 2016. Intermountain’s Senior Director of Marketing, Craig Kartchner, and Manager of Marketing, Heidi Nedreberg, shared their learnings and wisdom from the recent launch of their video visits. Below is a summary of these learnings. To learn the details of Intermountain’s success, you can watch the team’s recent webinar here.
Intermountain saw telehealth as an important part of its population health strategy: to provide consumers with a more affordable, convenient way to access care. Intermountain knew that in order to successfully launch a telehealth service the team would need to follow three key steps. Here are the keys to success for Connect Care:
- Listen to your customers
- Market to your own people first
- Build the service, and then tell people to come
Intermountain already had a strong background in consumer research, conducting several studies every year to help track brand equity and keep a pulse on consumer perception. These studies include quantitative studies that can be benchmarked and provide statistically significant data, as well as qualitative focus groups and research. The main goal of these studies is to measure and understand Intermountain’s favorability as a health system.
The studies showed that Intermountain is a very widely known brand that is highly regarded among all its audiences. So, how does this relate to telehealth?
Before choosing a telehealth partner or launching the service, Intermountain knew that they wanted to leverage the strength of the brand. So they conducted additional research—specific to telehealth—to understand people’s perception and knowledge of telehealth. One of the key findings of that study was that only 20% of people had ever heard of telehealth, while less than 10% have actually used it. An intriguing finding was that the percentage of people who said they would be willing to use telehealth increased significantly if it was associated with the Intermountain brand. These findings led to a strategy of leveraging the brand name, while also extending the brand’s reach to be seen as more innovative and convenient for patients.
As Utah’s largest employer, Intermountain understood the importance of leveraging their own employees and leaders to get them on board with Connect Care’s strategies and approach.
Intermountain’s marketing team began meeting with senior leaders very early on in the process to talk about marketing strategies and how they would accomplish the goals they set for Connect Care.
Intermountain’s strategy minimized any internal pushback. There were initial concerns among some of the employed medical groups and physicians that Connect Care would take patients away from practices. Intermountain’s marketing team went on an “internal public relations tour” throughout the organization to make sure the goals and visions were aligned, and to help people understand what to expect from Connect Care.
In February 2016, Intermountain began its first phase of marketing, which included marketing solely to its employees. They knew that if their employees knew what Connect Care was, had used it, and had a positive experience, they were more likely to become word-of-mouth ambassadors for the service.
Intermountain flyer used for internal marketing
The Intermountain team operated with the mindset that if they wanted to grow Connect Care aggressively, they would have to market aggressively. Because of that, they worked to get senior leaders on board to invest in marketing.
As a litmus test, Intermountain slowed down the marketing spend and tactics in the summer of 2016, and immediately noticed a drop in enrollments and visits. This was an easy message to then bring back to its senior leaders to show exactly how marketing translates to enrollments and visits.
For more key learnings from Intermountain’s Connect Care launch, watch the webinar here. You can also read this case study to learn how American Well’s marketing services helped Intermountain drive high enrollments at a low cost. For more information on how to drive successful video visits for your organization, contact American Well here.