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How to Grow Market Share with Virtual Care

This past week, I was at the American Telemedicine Association’s annual conference, and one of the things I heard over and over was the growing need for health systems and providers to offer virtual care. But health systems are often in a difficult position when it comes to technology investments like virtual care. They need, not only to prove it aligns with their mission and organizational objectives, but that it makes financial sense.

Healthcare organizations are increasingly being asked to do more with less—to think as businesses with an aim to expand and grow revenues. In fact, non-profit health systems are often caught between their business needs, the aims of their missions, and of course, delivering high quality care to diverse patient populations. The great news is that virtual care can help bridge that gap, supporting health systems in expanding access to care, both by increasing convenience and lowering costs while aiding in expansion and growth.

The Business Case for Virtual Care

When I say that building a business case is less clear that doesn’t mean it is difficult, more that, because the technology is relatively new and evolving, health systems sometimes find it challenging to pin down how they want virtual care to impact their business. While expanding access and enhancing patient experience are mission-driven goals, they also can create impacts on the bottom line. Other facets of virtual care, like increased clinical efficiency can bring a positive impact to the bottom line, particularly for populations where the health system owns a portion of their risk (e.g., self-insured employees or other owned health plans). But the real winner in building a business case has to do with gaining market share.

Virtual Care Meets Market Share

We recently published a study with MultiCare Health System in Washington that demonstrated the patient acquisition potential of offering a virtual care service to the marketplace. Through the study, we found that 34% of virtual care users who had not received care from MultiCare in the 24 months preceding their virtual visit sought in-person care in the 12 months after their virtual care experience – more than 3 times that of a control group.

So, how do you set patient acquisition goals relative to your market? Start by figuring out how much of the market you currently have—your market share.

What’s Your Market Share?Grabbing a piece of the market share pie

To calculate market share, try this for a nice-round-numbers approach. You, or someone at your organization, probably have a relatively good handle on how many patients you treat per year, on average. Divide that by your approximate market size, which you can find this with a quick Google search.

Setting Market Share Goals

The 34% patient conversion rate MultiCare achieved is tied to the closely circumscribed study cohort, imagine what that could look like relative to a major metropolitan market. For example, imagine you have 12% of a market of 3 million – that’s a nice size patient panel of 360,000. But, what could increasing your market share just 1% do? Before you pull out your calculators, I’ll tell you that it would add 26,400 patients to your health system—or 1% of your market potential.

Market Potential

market potential equation

Once you know your current market share, set attainable goals. Start with an aim of increasing your market share .25%. Using our hypothetical scenario above, that translates to 6,600 new patients.

Working with the 34% conversion rate, how many virtual visits would you need to achieve that .25% increase? Once again, I’ll do the math for you. You would need just over 19,000 new patients to come through your virtual care service to gain your 6,600 new patients and .25% market share increase.

That may sound like a lot, but there are budget sensitive strategies to increase growth and virtual visit volume that can help you achieve your market share and patient acquisition goals.

Accelerating Growth

From my perspective, one of the most interesting findings of our study with MultiCare is not the patient conversion rate but the market opportunity. The independent analytics firm who compiled and analyzed the study data found that understanding the demographics of patients who were likely to use virtual care meant that targeting just 20% of the market would yield 82% of the people most likely to use virtual care. That means highly focused, targeted marketing efforts could significantly increase virtual care utilization.

It’s exciting to hear from various health system customers about how they are leveraging virtual care to reach new patients and broaden access to care. Several of our health system partners are unlocking market potential by contracting with local health plans and employers to offer virtual care to their members and employees. Combined with targeted marketing, this approach can help accelerate your health system growth and put you well on your way to achieving your objectives.

Resources

Webinar: Virtual Care – Where Patient Access Meets Patient Acquisition with MultiCare Health System

Virtual Care: Where Patient Access Meets Patient Acquisition with MultiCare Health System

MultiCare Health System and Zipnosis explore how virtual care is impacting patient acquisition. Emily Yu, Director of Retail Clinics and Virtual Health, shares the results of a study that demonstrates virtual care’s utility as a patient acquisition channel. In this webinar, you will learn why patient acquisition is a useful success measure for virtual care, how patient panel growth and market share are linked, and the value of virtual care as a patient acquisition channel.

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Webinar: Launching and Scaling Virtual Care with Ascension Wisconsin

Ascension Wisconsin Webinar: Launching and Scaling Virtual Care

William Brazeau, Virtual Care System Director at Ascension Wisconsin, shares Ascension Wisconsin’s first-hand experience launching and strategically growing their virtual care service line. William provides insight into why and how Ascension Wisconsin launched virtual care, optimization of their virtual care service offering, and Ascension Wisconsin’s virtual care service results.

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Report: 2018 On-Demand Virtual Care Benchmark Survey Report

2018 On-Demand Virtual Care Benchmark Survey Report

Virtual care is increasingly critical in healthcare delivery, and numerous surveys and studies have been done evaluating everything from effectiveness to patient readiness to provider adoption. This body of research is lacking in one crucial area: how health systems are deploying and using virtual care. The 2018 On-Demand Virtual Care Benchmark survey is our attempt to fill that gap.

The results of this report are organized into three key categories: virtual care operations, technology and clinical.

Virtual Care Operations

This section explores how virtual care is set up and supported in healthcare organizations.

Topics include: Patient populations and utilization, strategy and operational responsibility, budget and finance, goals and challenges, and future plans.

Technology

This section looks at the technology used for on-demand virtual care, as well as how virtual care fits into the digital health landscape.

Topics include: Modalities, integration, other telehealth solutions in place, other patient-facing technologies in use.

Clinical

This section delves into clinical uses and outcomes from on-demand virtual care programs.

Topics include: Staffing and efficiency, conditions treated, and clinical quality.

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