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Virtual care: one size doesn’t fit all

It’s hard to fathom. In retrospect, the acceleration of virtual care adoption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic seems both obvious and jaw-dropping at the same time. Like many health systems, Penn State Health took a step back after the initial explosion of virtual care in the spring of 2020 to assess.

Was this the new normal for telemedicine? Perhaps more importantly, how could the system build a long-term virtual care strategy to meet what would likely be increasing demand for virtual services? Working with Revive, the system focused on a deep analysis of two equally critical audiences – consumers and providers. A successful telemedicine strategy would be impossible without understanding both of these groups. Further, research and data showed, as with any other marketing challenge, understanding key segments within each group would be essential.

A closer look at virtual care technology adoption

Using a combination of market surveys, consumer and provider interviews, and household data from Experian™, Revive was able to identify four core consumer segments in Penn State Health service area. The cluster strategy allowed for the prioritization of segments based on key virtual care dynamics such as estimated adoption rage, level of willingness, and total households.

Demographic and socioeconomic signals helped paint in-depth personas related specifically to virtual care adoption. Additionally, research led to the development of user profiles and journeys based on key physician scenarios related to virtual care. As with consumers, understanding physicians related to key lifestyle and professional attributes, such as comfort with technology or potential level of burnout, was critical to a successful telemedicine strategy.

Integrated care delivery: the path forward

The end result was a comprehensive 10-year strategy for building a powerful position in virtual care for Penn State Health. Work included brand positioning, naming, and brand architecture recommendations for various Penn State Health virtual care offerings, a messaging platform, and internal socialization and external go-to-market strategies.