After recently attending three of the nation’s biggest Healthcare Marketing conferences, I can’t help relating everything to a hospital website.
Right now, I’m reading The New Rules of PR & Marketing by David Meerman Scott. In one particular section, Scott (referring to a real estate company as an example) explains the difficulties in transitioning from traditional advertising to modern-day digital.
Largely, hospitals (many by their own admission) are behind the times when it comes to their website and digital presence. Let’s be real – a hospital website is the first place most patients visit to conduct research.
In fact, it’s been found that:
- 35% of U.S. adults say, at one time or another, they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have.
- 48% of patients research online more than two weeks before scheduling an appointment.
- 51% of patients would feel more valued as a patient via digital communications (i.e. hospital website, blog, social media, email marketing)
- 61% of patients visit two or more hospital websites before converting.
I’m a Business Development Representative at a digital marketing agency for the Healthcare sector – but I’m coming from a patient’s perspective here (which we all are at some point or another).
So, are patients losing patience with your hospital website?
Below are some major factors that should be noted on a hospital website. In the age of digital, these might seem obvious but I’m always looking at healthcare websites and few have even accomplished these basic objectives:
I don’t need to provide statistics on how many patients are researching hospitals and visiting a hospital website on a mobile device. If you’re in a public place right now, look around and see how many people are looking on their mobile devices. But for formality reasons, here are some statistics from emagine’s white paper: “Roughly one in three patients have used mobile devices daily for healthcare research and/or to schedule appointments.”
If your hospital website isn’t mobile responsive by now, you might as well be Fred Flintstone and living in the Stone Age era.
Patients must find what they need
People don’t typically search for a specific healthcare facility. Our white paper states the percentage of people that search for hospitals and doctors online aren’t actually searching for the hospital website or specific doctor at all.
- 38% search for terms related to a symptom or department (e.g. runny nose, pediatrics)
- 37% search for terms related to a condition (allergies, cancer)
- 19% search for terms related to the hospital brand
- 6% search for terms related to treatment
This all comes down to the word marketers love the most – content. And not just ordinary content, but high-quality content.
A hospital website should adequately support each user persona coming to it and serve as a helpful tool to quickly get them the information they need and want. This might mean a patient who wants to make an appointment or caregivers who are researching doctors who can treat their loved one. Mapping the site architecture and content delivered throughout a website visit and aligning those with the phases of the patient journey will ensure your website is relevant and helpful to each user persona at each stage of the patient journey.
The online experience of your hospital website should also reflect the offline experience people will have when during their hospital visit. Imagery that exudes empathy and comfort and an intuitive user experience will translate into a hospital visit that is seamless with clinical staff who are empathetic and comforting.
Remember – a hospital website influences 80% of care choices and with patients being more empowered than ever before you want their experience with yours to be a positive one.