Skip to Main Content

Health systems look to telehealth as an essential part of healthcare delivery, helping to attract new patients and improve care. To launch a successful telehealth program with longevity, strategic alignment between a health system’s operational, clinical, and marketing teams is essential.

Put the right operational structure in place

Avera Health, a fully integrated health system, partnered with American Well to launch its direct-to-consumer telehealth service, AveraNow. Before launch, the health system took these steps to ensure the program had lasting success.

  • Phased approach: For the initial direct-to-consumer telehealth launch, Avera chose to focus solely on urgent care, and later expanded to other service lines.
  • Executive leadership buy-in: Support from executive leadership is essential to telehealth success and dictates the direction and strategy of the program and ensures that adequate staffing and funding are available.

Read all four steps Avera followed to achieve success.

An operational strategy to post-acute telehealth care

For health systems looking to launch an acute telehealth program, a strong operational structure is equally essential to success. Aultman Hospital, a non-profit hospital, partnered with American Well to launch a post-acute care program.

  • Clearly defined KPIs: Through its telehealth program, Aultman aimed to reduce readmissions and transfer costs, and improve patient outcomes at skilled nursing facilities.
  • Cross-functional telehealth organization structure: Clinical, operational, and technical teams must work together to prepare and test technologies, workflows, and staffing models.

Discover all five elements to Aultman Hospital’s operational strategy.

Recruit physician champions

The clinical team should be highly involved from the onset of the telehealth program. UW Health, an integrated health system, engaged its clinicians from the start and developed a physician-focused telehealth program.

  • Establish an engagement plan: It is common for providers to have concerns about telehealth. The best way to ease concerns and encourage provider adoption is to engage providers early in the implementation process.
  • Fit telehealth into existing workflows and practices: Telehealth should not be practiced in a silo; it should be integrated into a provider’s current workflow.

Learn about all four ways UW Health integrated telehealth with providers in mind.

Tell them about your service

The growth and success of a telehealth program is often directly associated with a strong communications plan. Intermountain Healthcare, a not-for-profit health system, executed a comprehensive marketing program to drive results.

  • Build on your existing brand: Leveraging a trusted health system brand for a telehealth program will not only help consumers associate the service with the health system, it will assure them that they are receiving that same high-quality care.
  • Rollout to employees first: Two months before its public launch, Intermountain rolled out the program to its employees to gather feedback, work through technology bugs and test messaging.

Discover more about Intermountain Healthcare’s complete marketing strategy.

Avera Health, Aultman Hospital, UW Health and Intermountain Healthcare provide great examples of successful telehealth launches — each with a different perspective and key focus. Read more about how these four health systems positioned themselves to scale telehealth from pilot to enterprise solution.