10 Growth Strategies for a Telehealth Platform

Today, telehealth is mainstream, and prominent healthcare organizations, individuals, entrepreneurs, and institutions are addressing the use of telehealth platforms for catering to patients through telehealth. While telehealth had remained on the verge of disruption, COVID provided the necessary push to bring telehealth to everyone.

This has opened a new door of opportunity for healthcare entrepreneurs, and telehealth launches have seen a steep rise in 2020.

Trends_telehealth

Fig: Google Trends Report on Telehealth

As launching and building telehealth platforms becomes more competitive, we share some tips and ideas that will help you plan to launch a telehealth platform.

In this blog, we will cover

  • Telehealth business model
  • Solving the marketplace dilemma
  • Specific tips for growing a telehealth platform

You can also Check Out Our Video on 10 Growth Strategies for Telehealth Platform

Telehealth Business Model

Telehealth business models can be understood as a typical marketplace model where there are buyers and sellers, and the platform acts as a means to connect both. Amazon and Airbnb are great examples of marketplaces.

The best part about marketplaces is the network effect. This means more buyers lead to more sellers, leading to more buyers, and so on; the cycle continues. Once such a system sets in, it becomes hard to compete, and it creates a great advantage for a company.

Over time, as sellers build in reputation, profile, trust, and safety, and decrease friction, the value is multifolds. In fact, at that point, the platform can be set for automatic growth, and the community itself could become self-managed and keep the growth up. At this time, the business achieves growth through scalability, efficiency, and flexibility.

Launching a telehealth platform means bringing in practitioners and customers. The future of telehealth is about seamless connections between healthcare providers and patients, using advanced tech like AI and virtual consultations. Success depends on a user-friendly interface and meeting both sides’ needs, making telehealth a vital part of healthcare’s future.

The problem is that neither would like to join the platform before they see each other.

This is a typical marketplace growth problem.

So how to capture this initial growth, we will cover in this blog.

Solving the Marketplace Dilemma: the Chicken and Egg Problem

During the initial phase of a marketplace, neither supply nor demand are available. The problem is that one side cannot commit without the other. Hence, a marketplace entrepreneur has to find ways to manage the initial growth, either by growing one side first or by constraining the growth to a level where demand and supply ideally meet before taking it to the next level.

This is a snapshot from Lenny Rechitsky’s blog on Kick Starting and scaling marketplace.

Growth strategies for marketplace model | Mindbowser
Fig: Different Growth Strategies for the Marketplace Model

In a snapshot, you can build a better foundation by following one of the strategies

1. Constraint growth – Primarily in offering or geography or both

2. Focus on one side first – Mostly successful companies have focussed on growing supply first.

  • Driving early supply: This is because supply could drive its own demand, or word-of-mouth can take care of demand.
  • Driving early demand: Here, you have to create value for your users. Find the product-market fit and convince the users to use the platform

In summary, the demand and supply problem is solved by focusing on constraining the market, i.e. either making your business geographically limited to a certain place or making it limited to a certain category of offerings. This gives businesses time to build their foundation and ensure growth opportunities.

Further, a marketplace owner should focus on convincing either side of the business before committing to the other, thus establishing one part of it. Studies have suggested controlling supply growth and then focusing on demand as a preferred method. Hence, after constraining your market, first focus on driving the supply in this way, ensuring to fulfill vast demand.

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Our Growth Strategy to Supercharge your Telehealth Platform

I consider telehealth to be a low-frequency marketplace where the user may use the platform once a month or less. This means a telehealth entrepreneur will have to double their efforts on retention, both on the supply and demand sides. Founders are required to focus on adding significant value to the telehealth platform beyond discovery and matching.

Low-frequency usage means a telehealth platform has to focus on competition and acquiring users with effective marketing. Here are some ideas for telehealth founders that can help them on their journey:

10 growth strategies for telehealth platform | Mindbowser
Fig: 10 Growth Strategies for Telehealth Platform

1. Focus on Your Differentiator

Think of unique features that would be useful for your audience. Find the aspects where the satisfaction score is still low with competitors.

Mark out those areas, whether it is the availability of practitioners or the quality of the video stream. Interview your potential users and find out the latent needs that you can fulfill.

You can also look into competing with the offline experience rather than with the online experience; integrating health data or providing proactive nudges for the user based on data can also gain a competitive edge.

2. Integrate with Things that Make Life Easy for Users

Your platform should be easy to work with and should decrease the workload for practitioners. Think of integrations with platforms like EPIC as well as automation in different areas that eventually make time-saving one of the advantages of your platform.

This way, you can incentivize supply, which leads to demand. When a practitioner asks their patient to use a particular platform, they will oblige.

Similarly, for users, create space for keeping reminders, health documents, insurance, prescriptions, etc., that the user can use while still deciding whether to use the platform further or not.

Additionally, health device integration and concierge integration can make the user experience smoother and provide a full care continuum.

Related read: What Do Patients Really Want From Healthcare Mobile App?

3. Think of Growth Hacks that will Lead You to More Practitioners Quickly

For a telehealth platform, the supply side will have to grow first. Hence, work aggressively on onboarding practitioners quickly. Come up with ideas to keep practitioners engaged and motivated to remain on the platform. Have value additions such as other features they can use while they wait for patients to come.

These could again be features related to building their profile, transcription, appointment setting, reviews, etc.
Keep the platform released in a limited geographic area and seed the platform.

Another way to increase supply quickly would be to join hands and collaborate with such platforms that are serving doctors for some other reason but are not direct competitors.

Practo, a telehealth platform, created the Practo Pro app separately for doctors that would focus totally on doctors’ self-needs such as managing schedules, tracking feedback, online consultations, etc.

4. Innovate

Innovation is one area in which you can create an edge. Going back to understanding the patient’s cycle, you should think about future trends and things that are still missing. Of course, it would not be so obvious, but a diligent effort to keep pushing the envelope can help.

Since, for a marketplace, you need reasons for supply and demand to stay on your platform while you work on making transactions happen, innovation can give you a long rope on the user experience.

You can think of blending new technology with old concepts, or vice versa.

Imagine combining fitness-based data to automatically prompt for scheduling visits or disrupting the postoperative course for the patient.

Another area could be using cloud computing and data to reinforce better care plans.

In fact, Mindbowser worked with a team of practitioners to build a platform based on thousands of data points, and artificial intelligence guides the intervention decision-making and recovery process. Read more here

Ayush Jain

I am Ayush, co-founder and CEO of Mindbowser. At Mindbowser, I and my CTO teamed up to build an agency that can bring the best of tech and knowledge to founders. If you would like to discuss your options further, feel free to get in touch at ayush@mindbowser.com or book a 30-minute free consultation call.

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5. Make it Available in Low Latency/Even Offline Mode

You need to make your content available for the patients over a wide array of channels to ensure connectivity with them. As Telehealth crosses borders and reaches remote areas, have your video stream auto-adjust to different internet bandwidths as well as be available offline. This is something to be built into the architecture of the application using adaptive bitrate streaming. Content availability ensures reliability for the platform. Read more about building online-offline architecture here.

Selecting the right software architecture is important for any healthcare product. Watch this video on “How to select the right software architecture for your healthcare product?

One of the popular apps – Doxy, still runs as a web app and does not require the user to download anything.

doxy-telehealth-platform
Fig: Doxy Platform Runs On Web App Only with No Mobile App

6. Own The Supply

Like many other marketplaces that have their own products as well to fulfill the marketplace (Remember AmazonBasics), a telehealth entrepreneur can think of owning the supply by having their own practitioners using the platform. This will help you seed the platform with ample supply on day one. This is workable for medium-sized clinics and hospitals where the current model can be changed to an on-demand service.
If this is possible for you, then you can gradually build the network effect.

7. Check for Availability of Underutilized Assets to Unlock Growth

Another way to unlock supply would be to think of unconventional ways to find a supply. For telehealth, exploring an international pool of practitioners as well as going international for patients can be a great way to grow. Technology empowers us to go beyond geographical barriers. Telehealth can pave the way for international consultations, where, say, a patient in the UAE could be consulting with an expert in Houston.

Other areas of underutilized assets would be integration with caregivers, lab testing, and physician referral platforms.

8. Check for Changes Around Regulatory Reform

Global conditions and pandemics force regulatory bodies to reform compliances and make them in line with present-day challenges. In fact, there were changes to HIPAA during COVID-19. Such disruptions open up opportunities for innovation. Keep an awareness regarding the changes in compliance and regulations. Sometimes such changes could help you pivot towards a more favorable business opportunity that was not available before.

Here is a video on complying with HIPAA Policies

9. Cover Non-conventional Domains

Get into non-conventional areas of Telehealth like nurse practitioners, veterinary care, ambulatory care, caregiver management, or have a hyper-focus on niche areas like teledentistry or telecosmetics, behavioral health, etc. Driving into a hyper-niche has been a growth model for many marketplaces. Going niche means you could have a chance to be a leader in that focused space and drive innovation and competitive advantage.

Going Niche can also be possible on the customer side, with a focus on particular ailments, people with special needs, smoking cessation, dermatology needs, etc.

10. Community-based Growth

Another important tool for telehealth platform growth would be building a community, which is the main aspect of the platform. Through the community, you give people a reason to keep using the platform even when they do not have a transactional need. Also, the community can help you build a loyal customer base as well as advocate for the brand. You can generate a lot of original content as well.

Apps like Mylo and Practo are good examples of community-driven growth

Why Mindbowser for Telehealth App Development?

Mindbowser is a well-known healthcare technology provider that has led the industry by leveraging the power of healthcare software development and empowering many leading pharma and healthcare companies worldwide. Our experienced and highly competent team makes us the leading telemedicine app development company.

01

Experience of working with top health labs and companies worldwide

02

15+ satisfied healthcare customers who rate us 10/10 for experience

03

Personnel working on healthcare projects are trained on compliance and handling of data

04

Healthcare domain experts with 20+ years of industry experience to lead the team

05

Partnerships within healthcare ecosystem for solution accelerators
& access to APIs

06

ROI driven development plans which assures value right from day one

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Conclusion

These are some of the ways that a telehealth platform can drive growth. Telehealth platforms are at an exciting stage where technology, the ecosystem, and opportunity are meeting in resonance. By driving the right strategy, a telehealth entrepreneur can drive success.

 

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