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Telehealth: The Next Frontier

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This blog has been adapted from a webinar for Loreal/Skinceuticals on November 4, 2020, presented by Risa Luksa, founder and President of Goldman Marketing Group, and Mitchel P. Goldman, MD, founder and Medical Director of Cosmetic Laser Dermatology.

At the beginning of 2020, the world was thrusted into a familiar unknown. Familiar because we have experienced pandemics in the past, but unknown because we’ve never faced anything like this in our modern, technologically-advanced world. Most practices were forced to close their doors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Personal protective equipment was scarce, ICU capacity was running low, and we experienced the great toilet paper shortage of 2020. When the country received the green light to re-open elective procedures, practices needed to get creative. How would they open and keep their staff and patients safe? How do they prevent the spread of COVID? How do they purchase enough PPE to keep everyone safe without taking from their colleagues on the front lines? There were many rules and guidelines that changed day-by-day and sometimes by the hour. 

Practices began to pick up one revolutionary tool that was always hiding in the background but not widely used: Telehealth. With virtual consultations, doctors were able to see more patients without bringing more patients into the office. They increased the number of patients being cared for while keeping those patients and staff safe, only allowing visits for patients with booked procedure appointments. 

“It’s gonna be pretty soon that we are going to be able to send patients some kind of device to see their heart rate, oxygen levels, and we will also be able to measure EKGs.”

-Mitchel Goldman, MD

The team at Goldman Marketing Group has kept our clients’ practices thriving during the pandemic by quickly adapting to virtual opportunities such as webinars and telehealth. In this blog, we explain the obstacles and opportunities of telehealth, what can be handled virtually thanks to technological innovations, financial and operational considerations, and of course marketing techniques.

Pros And Cons

There are many pros of telehealth that both patients and physicians love, but with everything in life, it does come with some areas ready for improvement.


  • Efficiency and convenience – For both the patient and physician, telehealth offers convenience. Patients are able to see their doctor from the comfort of their own home, and doctors are able to see many patients from their home office and their practice.
  • Safety – No patients in the office means less chance of spreading infectious diseases.


  • Telehealth is impersonal – You’re speaking with patients over the computer or phone and don’t really get to touch, look, or observe them in the room. 
  • Non-verbal communication – May also be a factor in how a physician is able to gather information from their patient. Similarly, the patient may also feel more comfortable in the room with their physicians as opposed to seeing their doctor through a screen.
  • Inability to perform a procedure – Physicians who are accustomed to performing a procedure, in some cases, immediately after a consultation, cannot do so.

Is Telemedicine Here to Stay? Yes!

As medical environments constantly change, telehealth is extremely popular around the world. Humanity always adapts when there are significant shifts in the way we do things. With the rise in virtual everything, older generations are becoming more tech-savvy than ever before, and the world is innovating through these trying times. With telehealth competition rising, it is becoming a more financially viable option for practices.

What Can Be Handled Virtually?

New standard operating procedures will need to be implemented to ensure that a practice is on the same page as the patient. This will ensure a seamless experience for everyone involved.

  • New patient visits – Look at and hear patient concerns and converse on how these concerns will be addressed at a later in-person appointment.
  • Follow up visits – Very efficient for surgical procedures to ensure that patients do not have any adverse effects.
  • Patient & doctor preference – It is becoming an increasingly convenient option as there is no need to drive to the doctor’s office.

Virtual Innovations

We are experiencing an innovation boom in 2020. One of the virtual procedures physicians are now able to perform are virtual biopsies. Physicians who are in a consultation with a patient and notice they have a mole that is unusual in nature or color no longer have to perform a full biopsy. 

A virtual biopsy can be performed with an mRNA tape strip technique. Physicians can mail a patient a tape strip and talk them through performing their own tape biopsy, an excellent way of distinguishing malignant from benign pigmented lesions. New technology is allowing us to diagnose without performing in-person procedures, and there may be additional virtual procedures that will occur in the future. 

Financial Considerations: Manage the Margins

  • Medical billing – Review your coding with your revenue cycle management company to ensure you are up to date with the best coding practices.
  • Medical malpractice insurance – Reach out to your legal representative to ensure you are covered.
  • Compare – The revenue between telehealth and in person visits may be different, so be sure to price them accordingly.
  • Be on time – Physicians always want to be on time for their in-practice appointments, however, patients expect doctors to be running a little behind. With telehealth, you want to make sure you are on time as much as you can as there is a patient waiting on the other side.
  • Conversion rates – Are these consultations converting to in-person procedures or treatments? Are you retaining these patients? Are your patients happy?

Operational Structure

There are a lot of important aspects of telehealth to consider like scheduling, technology, and patient communication. Looking at these key elements will ensure that all virtual consultations run smoothly. You don’t want to spend the first few minutes saying things like “Can you hear me? Can you see me?” Ensuring patients are familiar with the process before the appointment begins is essential to avoid frustrating and costly delays.

Assess Your Needs, Goals, and Resources

  • Administrative (scheduling, templates, staff training)
  • Financial (costs, billing, co-pays)
  • Clinical (rules and regulations, workflow)
  • Technical (hardware/software/integration with EMR, Electronic Medical Records)

Establishing a support team for each area of focus is essential to successful execution. You’ll want to make sure you choose the best software. Some things to consider are HIPAA compliance, optimal bandwidth (even at peak times), and integration with your EMR/PM software. 

Marketing Best Practices

  • What is the terminology – There are an array of synonyms being used to describe telehealth such as video consult, virtual consult, telehealth, telecare, e-health, telemedicine, the list goes on and on. You’ll want to make a decision of what will work best for your practice and patients and keep your messaging consistent. 
  • Patient communication – Keep your patients in the loop via social media, your website, or in videos explaining how your telehealth option works. 
  • Instructional video – Make it as easy as possible for your patients to book their telehealth appointments. Walk them through the process so they know what to expect.
  • Email marketing – Keep your patients up-to-date and encourage them to book. Make it as easy as possible for them. Send important updates like COVID-19 protocols and safety measures, announce new physicians at the practice, sales and specials, and more via email.

The Visit

  • Before the Visit
    • Collect photos ahead of time – quality photos will ensure you can give accurate advice.
      • Do not rely on phone/video quality
      • Send patients a guide to take appropriate photos
      • Review photos to ensure they are sufficient before the appointment is scheduled to being
    • Gather medical records – Easiest for patients to request themselves
      • Patients can call previous doctors to gather records and send them to you
      • Dates and details for past procedures
      • Contraindications
  • During the Visit
    • Best practices
      • Review all records and photos before the visit
      • Have a medical assistant take notes so you can give your patients your full attention
      • Dedicate time so you are not rushed
      • Run on schedule
      • Choose a quite, private place
      • Set up follow-up visit/plan before signing off
  • After the Visit
    • Follow up to schedule the in-person visit or treatment
    • Discuss diagnostic results
    • Request patient feedback

Embrace Telehealth

Telehealth is certainly here to stay. With the proper procedures, software, and staff in place, this can become a very lucrative and possibly the safest way to receive patients. When embarking on a new telehealth venture, be sure you communicate with your patients. Let them know what you expect of them regarding images and medical records, and what they can expect from you in return. Make sure all your ducks are in a row, consulting with your legal advisor to ensure the software you are using is HIPPA compliant and can cover your bases in case of any malpractice lawsuit. Most importantly, stay in touch with your patients prior to their consultation, after their consultation, during their visit, and make sure to retain them using email marketing. But most importantly, keep your patients happy and safe. 

Let Goldman Marketing Group Help Your Practice Adapt to Telehealth

Whether you’re just starting to offer telehealth services, or you’re still wondering if it can work for you, contact Goldman Marketing Group to find out how we can help make this transition a success for your medical practice.

Categories: Marketing Tips & Tricks