As your team plans for 2018, is your website aligned with your goals as a healthcare organization? We have three web trends in the healthcare industry that you should be aware of when it relates to patient experience, content, patient feedback and technical capabilities.
Your friend calls and tell you that she’s been diagnosed with aphthous stomatitis. You want to be concerned, but what on earth does that mean? Your toddler has a strange rash on the bottom of his foot that develops on Sunday night at 8PM. Should you be concerned? Your elderly mom calls and is worried about a persistent cough that she can’t seem to get rid of. She wants to know what you think?
Unless you’ve actually been to medical school, you likely are not qualified to comment on any of the above scenarios. Good news! Google is. Or so we think. In fact, 93 million of us have researched a health issue online. At this point, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone that hasn’t turned to Dr. Google in a time of crisis/curiosity/research.
So, what does that mean for the healthcare industry when it comes to websites? Below are 3 important trends in website development affecting the healthcare industry.
1. Transparency This is key. Remember, honesty is the best policy. People want to know exactly what they can expect from your practice/hospital/treatment facility.
What is your pricing model? If it’s something you can stand behind, even if you’re not the least expensive option, post it. And stand behind it.
Are you a hospital or healthcare system with a busy ER(s)? How can you post accurate wait times for each facility? By doing this, you’re giving the consumer the power they are hungry for. Can they wait an hour before checking in? Can they go to your facility that’s a bit farther away and has no wait? Helping the consumer while helping your internal processes at the same time.
Do you have a specific model of care? Preach! Tell the masses. The more people know before they arrive, the more likely you are to actually capture them as a consumer. This applies to your physical location as well. Make sure your photography is up to date. Yes, even this relates to transparency. I know it doesn’t have anything to do with the science of the medicine or the amazing quality of care that they’ll receive but it’s equally important. It won’t be a good first impression if people feel “duped” when they get to your practice because the pictures on your website are 10 years old and taken when it was brand new. The immediate reaction is skepticism. What else are you not being truthful about?
2. Reviews Consumers put a lot of stock in what others say. They also put great emphasis on how you respond and what you’ve done about it.
Reviews aren’t just for Amazon products. They apply to healthcare as well. You certainly have to be careful about HIIPA issues here. No one is insisting that you break any laws, but you do need to respond.
If someone finds a physician in your practice to have a horrible bedside manner, you will gain credibility if you respond with something like, “We’re so sorry to hear that you had a poor experience at our facility yesterday. We’ll be in touch with you personally within 24 hours to learn more about the situation.” Then, make sure that you do what you say. Call them. Give them the power of being heard. Work to remedy the situation. Not only is it important for that patient, it’s equally as important for those potential patients reading your reviews.
Obviously, you want to encourage positive reviews. Don’t be above asking for them. Put a sign at your checkout. “Did you have a positive experience with us today? We hope so! Let everyone know on our website. Visit www.bestpracticeintown and leave a review.” Put a note on appointment reminder cards or patient receipts. Thank your patients publicly when they take the time to review their experience.
Is there a way to can incentivize your staff to encourage them to talk to clients about posting reviews? Or a competition for the practitioner that receives the most positive reviews over the course of 6 months?
3. Patient Portal Again, it’s about power. If patients are willing to go online and research medical conditions before seeking out a provider, they most certainly are willing to go online to retrieve their own medical information. This also engages patients in their care. When they can schedule appointments, view test results, request prescription refills or even facilitate an online conversation with a provider 24/7, they feel like they are in control.
It also helps your internal metrics like telephone hold time and patient wait time. If patients can access their pre-appointment paperwork online, when it’s convenient for them, they are also likely to spend more time filling it out accurately and completely. Ultimately, this increases their own quality of care.
These website trends in the healthcare industry are about increasing transparency and patient relations, ensuring that your online storefront delivers them accurate, helpful information during their search process. This puts you at the forefront of their decision making set.