How are patients going to find your virtual practice? There are literally thousands of things that you can do to drive traffic, but they break down into two primary groups: hire a marketing professional or try some small-scale solutions yourself. If you have the budget for a marketing team, defer to them for the nuts and bolts. If that’s not an option right now, here are a few things to consider (and later check on Part 1 of this series, 10 Things to Know About Starting Your Telemedicine Practice).
If you’re sticking with a cash-pay model, which many virtual practices do, you won’t have a consistent stream of referrals from insurance companies.
Allow a fair amount of time for the patients to find you.
Unless you are partnering with a large organization that can send a considerable volume, don’t expect to have your schedule packed immediately. You can definitely find reputable sources for patients to fill your days, but you’ll need some time after day one.
Partner with local healthcare providers who need people to fill your niche. Psychiatrists can offer immediate evaluations to pediatricians and general practitioners with patients who need evaluation but not hospitalization. Physical therapists can provide remote evaluations for home-health agencies or orthopedists. What is your specialty and your niche?
Primary care physicians and mid-levels can partner with local pharmacies and get the pharmacy to hand out business cards to people who come in for over-the-counter medications.
Local parenting groups can be filled with people who don’t have time to go to the doctor but occasionally need immediate care.
Mental health professionals can work with local agencies who have extended wait lists. Often, couples who are looking for marriage counseling have difficulty coordinating their schedules. Local faith-based organizations also see potential patients in distress who come to them and look for assistance.
There are many ways to reach out to potential clients, and many of them are inexpensive or free. A stack of business cards can do a long way.
Find your niche and figure out how to meet the people on different telemedicine platforms, who can help fill it.