Population Stakeholders and Current Practice
Telehealth marketing involves many populations and stakeholders. In terms of stakeholders connected to telehealth, physicians, patients and anyone in a health care role as well as the businesses behind telehealth technologies are associated with telehealth practice. These services can be integrated into any population with sufficient resources and knowledge regarding telehealth practices. In the business of telehealth, there are two main stakeholders. These are internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders involve individuals who have a direct connection to a business. In telehealth, this would include the hospital’s owners, managers, and employees. Telehealth’s external stakeholders include suppliers, regulators, shareholders, and customers. Suppliers are the individuals who provide the telehealth technologies. These technologies can range from apps, mobile devices, laptops, PCs, remote monitoring systems, and patient portal servers. The government is considered as a regulator because it provides laws concerning many telehealth related areas. Many of these laws require physicians to be licensed to administer medical advice or care via telehealth. A bigger discrepancy in regulation is related to reimbursement policies. According to the Center for Connected Health Policy, “Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers offer varying degrees of telehealth reimbursement, with their reimbursement policies diering greatly in terms of services covered, and other requirements and restrictions. Overall there is a lack of cohesiveness of policies both within and between public and private payers.” This can be a tremendous financial burden for those who cannot afford to pay for telehealth services out of pocket. Next, shareholders are individuals who own shares in a company. These individuals are significant because they can vote for whoever they want to be on the board of directors. Lastly, customers are important stakeholders because they benefit the most from these telehealth technologies.
Using a Business Plan
Telehealth services can be used in several settings such as hospitals, home care, clinics, and rehabs. These services make life much easier for individuals in these settings. Like any product or service, a proper business plan is necessary in order to be successful. There are two business level strategy concepts. These are cost leadership strategies and differentiation strategies. A cost leadership strategy focuses on bringing lower prices to customers by being efficient in their operations. This leads to competitive advantage which in turn leads to profits for the company. A company that uses a differentiation strategy involves doing something unique so that their customers are willing to pay more for their product. This differs from a cost leadership strategy because they capture higher profits due to their higher prices. There are two sub categories within these main strategies. They are overall cost, overall differentiation, cost focus, and broad focus. An overall cost strategy targets general customers in a broad market and attempts to reduce cost in order to provide lower prices. An overall differentiation strategy usually implements a unique product feature. A cost focus strategy targets 2 or less market segments and attempts to reduce costs in those markets. Lastly, a differentiation focus strategy typically offers unique product features in a specific market segment. For example, Whole foods only offers products that tailor to the organic food market segment. Telehealth businesses would most likely thrive from implementing an overall cost business level strategy. This is because it will allow companies to offer lower prices for telehealth services by being more efficient in their operations. These operational improvements would include faster production of telehealth technologies, faster delivery of service, and economy of scale. Implementing a business model to guide the marketing process will also help inform the community on telehealth and its’ implications. In an effort to improve the overall well-being of individuals, families, and communities, social workers must be properly educated on the uses of telehealth. This can be done in a variety of ways. First, seminars can be offered to patients who are interested in learning more. Second, informative materials such as videos, webinars, emails, and surveys can inform individuals on the benefits of telehealth. Lastly, telehealth enthusiasts can advocate for more telehealth courses and events in more universities, high schools, middle schools, and even elementary schools. They can do this by requesting to speak at these educational establishments and showcase what telehealth is all about. This will ensure that stakeholders also understand the ethical concerns associated with caring for patients through telehealth means.