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How the Media Continues to Support the Growth of Telehealth and Artificial Intelligence Industries

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Paige WagnerAccount Supervisor

During COVID-19, we’ve all been striving to find routines within our “new normal” that provide some semblance to what our professional and personal lives looked like before we converted our dining rooms to home offices. As we chase consistency to give ourselves feelings of familiarity, it seems the only constant during the pandemic is the evolving updates and changing media landscape. Day by day – and even hour by hour – new updates and forecasts for COVID-19 continue to dominate the headlines as we search for solutions to help flatten the curve.

For those of us in the healthcare industry, we continue to stay abreast of the constantly developing news, as it closely affects our clients in a variety of different subsectors ranging from startups to middle-market and late stage. Over the past month, there are two areas of healthcare we have thoroughly monitored: utilization of telehealth and artificial intelligence (AI). Both areas have been continuously covered by the media and are signaling as “pandemic-proof” areas of healthcare given the high demand and expansion.

While there continues to be talk about how our social distancing and stay-home directives are working to flatten the curve, there has been an equally interesting media curve illustrating how these trends have increased and peaked at various points in the news cycle. As trends surrounding coronavirus ebb and flow, it’s nearly impossible these days to turn on the TV or read your morning brief from The New York Times without seeing the words, “COVID-19.” Media coverage on COVID-19 hasn’t stopped at healthcare, science and technology reporters either – reporters from all news outlets have covered the impacts of the virus, as it has immense effects on all industries. Whether it’s HIT, security, or MarTech, we’ve been keeping a pulse on how media conversations have evolved to understand how this impacts our clients’ news.

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Telehealth’s Strong Momentum Remains

Before this year and the growing cases in the U.S., telehealth was viewed as an elective service some healthcare practices and hospitals provided. As cases peak, it has proven to be an essential lifeline during the pandemic for healthcare providers, as many struggle to cope with large decreases in visits due to patients staying home. Media jumped into the telehealth conversation with both feet, highlighting some of the most notable companies that have developed telehealth solutions, as well as early stage companies in position to rethink their mission and pivot their platforms toward telehealth and mental health solutions. Media have also provided readers with notable data and rules/regulations that closely affect telehealth.

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How the Media Has Amplified Telehealth’s Popularity

During the initial outbreak of the coronavirus in the U.S., media covered telehealth companies that were able to provide quick, efficient and practical solutions to thousands of healthcare providers. We’re seeing a tremendous growth in telehealth and a continued news cadence following the trend. Fascinated by the overnight success, reporters are shifting their focus to the future of telehealth and narrowing in on market success. In a recent article in Modern Healthcare, Healthcare Reporter Jessica Kim Cohen wrote about how Teladoc’s quarterly revenue climbed 41 percent on the back of two million telehealth visits, showcasing the demand-driven technology and platform.

It’s no secret reporters love data and statistics. Data and survey results can act as the building blocks for outreach to support many clients. Our agency works with Dynata to gather real data and survey results to supplement our pitching efforts, which has proven to be fruitful for a variety of media. Throughout the evolving media curve, strong data surrounding telehealth has produced media interest in coverage.

For example, a recent survey from the Primary Care Collaborative on how primary care physicians not having enough resources to remain open beyond COVID-19 has generated a lot of buzz. Healthcare trade publication, RevCycle Intelligence, ran an in-depth story on the survey and how the impact –  specifically tying in telehealth platforms like virtual care and the relationship with PCPs. The conversation surrounding physicians and telehealth have been crucial during COVID-19 as many healthcare providers look to solutions for their patients.

Responding to Demand for Telehealth Capabilities

Demands for telehealth services have continued to grow within the past several weeks and in strong efforts to meet needs, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently allowed popular communication apps to be used by healthcare providers to communicate with patients. For example, Denver-based healthcare provider Every Child Pediatrics recently announced it expanded use of PAN client 8×8 by adding virtual visits. News of the HHS decision impacted many throughout the healthcare field, especially for HIT vendors, EHR solutions, hospitals and healthcare providers. With a large impact, it was picked up by national business press outlets including, FOX News and Forbes.

AI’s Proven Benefits for COVID-19 Outside of Healthcare

As PAN’s Senior Vice President Dan Martin wrote in a recent blog, industry experts are still forecasting AI software spending to continue, specifically within the industries that play in areas of growing importance as the virus spreads – healthcare and pharma. The rise in AI is continuing to grow at an impressive rate during the midst of the pandemic and we’re not expecting a slow down any time soon.

How the Media Has Amplified AI’s Popularity

Not only does AI have a huge role throughout the healthcare industry, but we are now starting to see AI’s COVID-19 impact on other areas highlighted by the media. During the initial outbreak, reporters were laser focused on AI’s influence specific to healthcare. Today, we are starting to see a gradual shift in coverage surrounding AI and its effect on various industries outside of healthcare, as AI evolves to meet the data demand to help reopen society.

For example, Senior Food and Beverage Contributor at Forbes, Jenny Splitter, is diving into the coronavirus conversation on how it impacts the industry. In her recent article, a new AI camera can help restaurants show that their food is safe from coronavirus. Even in places not directly linked to healthcare, AI is helping business owners with solutions to practice safety measures during COVID-19.

Another example of how media are reporting on how AI is affecting traditional, everyday activities includes the simple task of grocery shopping. Stephanie Condon, a reporter for CNET who covers a variety of topics recently wrote an article highlighting several startups leveraging technologies like computer vision to eliminate grocery checkout lines in efforts to reduce long lines and close contact. This article is the perfect example of reporters looking to COVID-19’s future impact on every day, consumer experiences.

Telehealth and AI Support New Industries

As we look to solutions to help curb COVID-19, companies of all sizes, products and solutions throughout the U.S. are expanding their capacity to accommodate telehealth and AI. In addition to designing the right media mix, helping early stage brands navigate critical steps as they consider pivoting their product or service – and subsequently seek to command industry respect that drives impact – is critical. PAN is keeping a close pulse on the news cycle as we quickly mobilize and adapt with the changing landscape for clients. We know the sensitives involved and understand how to navigate the media waters given the volume of attention COVID-19 has commanded these past two months. We continue aggressive, real-time outreach to our industry and national contacts on behalf of our clients during this challenging time, sharing recent company news, initiatives and perspectives in ways that first and foremost resonate best with their customers and prospects.

Is your healthcare brand experiencing growth during COVID-19? Read about how our NXT Stage Approach can support.

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An image of PAN's Brand Experience Report on the Potentials and pitfalls of AI for marketers

In our annual Brand Experience Report, we asked marketers and customers how they are using and experiencing AI to better understand how the technology is changing that relationship.