In any industry, a strong digital and interactive strategy is essential to building a brand. Unfortunately, there are industries that haven’t quite grasped this concept. In particular, the healthcare industry, where there is evidence that healthcare organization simply aren’t taking advantage of the more advanced or emerging digital activities.

With the state of healthcare websites improving, there is a huge opportunity for hospitals to step up their digital game and get ahead of their competition. Research from Google Think surveys found that 76 percent of patients were using hospital websites for research.

For hospitals, having a strong website presence is more important than ever.

Today’s online user is more empowered now then they have ever been, and they are looking for digital experiences that allow them to stay in control of their healthcare decisions. As healthcare marketers, it’s our job to provide online patients with a seamless experience that conveys trust and provides a level of comfort. Follow these tips provided below to ensure your hospital website is helping and not stressing patients out.

Avoid medical jargon – Patients usually don’t speak about conditions with the same clinical terms a physician would use. Actually, this type of terminology can be very overwhelming for online patients who are looking to understand what a series of symptoms mean. Remember this, and make it simple for patients to understand your specialties and service lines.

Find A Doctor – Create, manage, and update a database of physicians so patients can search for the right one directly on your website. The ‘Find A Doctor’ feature lets site visitors research doctors’ specialties, areas of focus and choose the one that is right for them.

Online Appointments – Not everyone is able to call during the day to make an appointment and even more are unable to search sites like ZocDoc for appointment requests. So having the option to either request an appointment or schedule an appointment on your hospital website is extremely helpful. Without online appointment features, a potential patient might never get around to calling. Online appointment options help patients move one step closer to better managing their health.

Contact Information – Connect patients with the information they’re looking for. If site visitors would prefer calling to make an appointment, the contact information should be readily accessible for them to do so. They might have specific questions about your hospital or staff that aren’t addressed on your website. Answers to these questions are an important factor in making a decision and if a patient can’t get those answers, they might move on.

Appeal to the on-the-go, constantly connected patient – One area of particular growth is online research through mobile devices — of patients who found hospitals on their mobile devices, 44 percent went on to schedule an appointment. This is concrete evidence of why it is crucial for hospitals and healthcare organizations to prioritize the development of modernized, responsive websites. Your mobile experience has to be quick because, chances are, mobile users are looking at your site while waiting for the pasta to cook or during a timeout at their daughter’s soccer game.

We’ve become a society of professional multi-taskers and hospital marketers need to adapt to patient behavior online and adjust their website initiatives accordingly. Make content relevant and useful, but remember it needs to be quickly consumed. And if you find yourself in need of professional help, we’re always here to help.