Every year, patients rely more and more on the internet to help them with their medical needs. They want to check their symptoms and decide if they need to go to a doctor, then they want to use the web to find a doctor, then they want to search for reviews and testimonials to decide if they want to use a particular doctor, then they want to make an appointment online to avoid sitting on the phone on hold with an appointment center.
They’re asking for a lot. You’re not Amazon, after all. You’re a hospital. Why should you cater to all of these high expectations? Because if you don’t, they’re going to go somewhere else, even if you really are the best option for them. Having a strong, interactive website will help you make your case and prove why patients should come to your hospital or healthcare organization for their healthcare needs.
There are several interactive tools and widgets that can take your site to the next level. Some items are more valuable than others. Check out the list below and see how you score!
Physician Directory (5 points) – This is really not optional anymore. Your website absolutely needs a physician directory that displays your physician’s information to help your users decide which doctor will best suit their needs. Add 2 points for physician videos. Add 2 extra points if you have a Find a Doctor search functionality.
Request an Appointment (5 points) – Users love being able to submit a quick form explaining what they need and letting you know when they’re available. That way you already have most of the information that you need for your records when you call a patient to confirm an appointment time.
Online Pre-Registration (4 points) – Everyone has to fill out that endless stack of forms concerning personal information, medical and family history, and insurance information. Instead of requiring patients to come in half an hour before their appointment is supposed to start, put the forms on your website so your patient can fill them out at their leisure. Add an extra point if they can submit them electronically instead of printing them out.
Online Bill Pay (4 points) – Allowing users to take care of their bill online saves them a lot of hassle. It’s more convenient, and with online reminders, they’re more likely to pay on time. Win. Win.
Blog and Social Media (4 points) – Publishing current content for your community to read keeps your brand in mind and proves your expertise. But try to be consistent. Lose 2 points if you post content less than twice a month . Nothing is worse than a blog that never gets updated.
Classes and Events (3 points) – Your participation levels will drastically improve when your classes, foundation events, support groups, and any other scheduled event that your healthcare organization offers is clearly available on your website. Take an extra point if they can register online.
Media Center (3 points) – Sharing your videos, photos, and news creates a better sense of awareness for your organization.
Gift Shop (2 points) – It’s nice for users to be able to buy a gift for a friend or family who’s staying in your hospital even if they’re on the other side of the country. The patient will remember how easy your organization made it for their families to send flowers, stuffed toys, or care packages.
Online Baby Gallery (2 points) – Because everyone loves a cute picture of a baby. Make it easy for new parents to share the news about their new addition.
Seriously, babies are the best. Ask Director of Web Development, Keir Bradshaw.
Careers (3 points) – This isn’t a patient tool, but it will make it easier for you to sift through job applications and resumes as you look for new employees.
Donate (3 points) – Making it possible to donate to your foundation won’t necessarily improve your patient’s direct experience, but they are certainly more likely to contribute if you make it easy for them.
25-37 points: You’re doing great! Keep up the good work, and monitor your site traffic to see the fruits of your labor!
18-24 points: You’re off to a good start, but remember, a website is an ongoing project, not a static tool.
10-18 points: Well, that’s something. Invest some resources into improving the user experience of your website, and your patient experience will improve too.
Less than 10 points: Your website needs some serious love. Adding some interactivity to your website can more than triple your number of site visitors.
How did you score? Let us know in the comments below! If you’re interested in finding out how AVID Design can help you create a better, more interactive user experience with our line of eTools™!
AVID Design offers full-scale written and visual communication services for hospitals and healthcare systems, including SharePoint, Web design, SEO and PPC content development and assessment, online video and rich media, analytics and measurement, content management systems and more.
Dani Robinson Holland | Content and SEO Specialist | AVID Design
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