Telemedicine has revolutionized the way patients access medical advice, thanks to the convenience and connectivity of mobile. And it’s not slowing down anytime soon. By 2021, telemedicine will be a $66 billion opportunity. But what exactly is it? Telemedicine allows healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients at a distance using telecommunications technology. If consumers can Facetime their pets, why can’t they do so with their doctor? Of course, as the opportunity grows, so do the challenges. With increasing concern over the safety of personal data, marketers who leverage mobile data need to ensure that it is exclusively high quality, first-party, and consented.
Quality data will amplify the telemedicine opportunity, enabling marketers to understand the modern-day patient journey. Using Ogury’s Mobile Journey data (which is first-party and fully consented), I took a look at the habits of 187,000 telemedicine users across six apps (Doctor on Demand, MD Live, LiveHealth Online, Amwell, Lemonaid, and Your.MD) and discovered three key trends that define these users.
#1: Users are Loyal
Loyal users are highly coveted to marketers, and telemedicine has one of the most devout groups of users. In Ogury’s study, 94 percent of these users only owned one telemedicine app. This is huge. Doctor on Demand has the most unique users per month, but LiveHealth Online has the largest exclusive audience, leading by only one percent compared to the others who are also extremely loyal.
With this level of trust and loyalty, it’s important for marketers to know what these users are doing outside their favorite telemedicine apps, to truly understand their entire healthcare journey.
#2 Seasonality Impacts Engagement
Another key finding is the impact seasonality has on app usage. In the above screenshot, you can see that app usage peaks between December and February, which aligns with CDC findings which reports that timing as the peak flu season.
Again, it’s important for marketers to look beyond these apps to see what else users are doing on their healthcare journey. Even though seasonality indicates alignment with cold and flu season, when digging deeper into what the user journey looks like, I discovered that it might actually be another ailment that users choose to turn to telemedicine apps for.
#2 Telemedicine Users Are Mindful
The ailment that stood out to me when evaluating Ogury’s first-party user journey data was mental health. Looking at the top trending apps for February under the ‘health & fitness’ category, Headspace placed in eighth. Now looking at the same time period the year prior, Headspace didn’t even make the list. Mindfulness is much more top-of-mind than it used to be, with today’s users realizing that mental health is just as important as their physical health.
Third-party research supports the finding. Practice types that focus on counseling or communicative disciplines had higher use than general practice. In fact, psychiatry makes up 21 percent of telemedicine use. General practice consists of only 13 percent.
So why does this information matter? It’s extremely important to keep the ailment in mind when it comes to the channel in which you reach your patients. Ogury data indicates that ailments of a more sensitive nature increase the use of telemedicine. Such as the mental health example outlined. And data also reveals trends that indicate increased engagement with telemedicine apps when it comes to digestive health issues. Think about it, breaking up with someone over text has become common practice today, as people want to avoid awkward conversations. The same situation applies to our health – thanks to the connectivity and convenience of mobile, we no longer need to have uncomfortable face-to-face conversations with our doctors.
There’s no denying that telemedicine is growing. More than seven million patients today have their health in their hands—quite literally. With control over their health, it’s vital these users also have control over their data. Providing users with a clear and informed choice to share or withdraw their data places the control in the users’ hands, and ensures compliance when it comes to data privacy.
Want to learn how you can leverage quality consented first-party data to connect with these extremely loyal telemedicine app users? Reach out to me directly at Nena@ogury.com
Nena Slifer, Sr. Director of Healthcare