This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Read Part 2 — Essential Features of an Engaging Healthcare Website
Attracting patients through your website
When patients are looking for a new doctor, or are having a medical problem, the first thing most people are doing now is going online. Whether it be to look up the closest physician, to schedule an appointment, or trying to find a specialist in their area to treat a problem they are having. If people are immediately going online to search, healthcare providers need to be very aware of their web presence. Attracting new patients is such a huge part of any healthcare practice that if you don’t have a quality, and user friendly website, then you’re potentially missing out on a large patient base.
According to Mobi Health News, 54 percent of millennials age 18 to 24 say they search online for health information and rely on online physician ratings before seeing a doctor. The global average for all patients was just 39 percent.
Because of the large amount of patients seeking health information online, there are some essential elements that all healthcare providers should consider to have an engaging healthcare website.
Healthcare Website Features
1. Patient Intake Forms
Online forms make the process smoother and faster for patients when they come into a physician’s office. Often times, patients run behind schedule and do not arrive 15 minutes early as advised by the office staff. Having online forms available enables the patient to be able to conveniently fill out the form before coming into the office.
2. Services and Insurance Information
When users/patients come to your site they are probably looking for a service you provide, to fix a problem they have, or address a need or want. Having your services listed on your site with detailed information regarding what you can provide is absolutely necessary. If patients have to take additional time to call your office to ask questions about what you can offer them, your staff is losing valuable time. If your competitor lists that information on their website, patients may go to your competition. Another thing to consider is listing insurance information. When it comes to insurance, just simply listing what insurance your office can accept is key information for a patient.
3. How to find your Practice / Location Information
Think about when you visit a new doctor’s office. If you are like me, then you are worried about finding the office and being there on-time. In many instances, different types of doctor’s offices — from family practice to Ob/Gyn, to even dental offices — tend to be located within large buildings, often with several other doctors or businesses. Having information on your website detailing what floor, office number, etc. is essential. Many places now include interactive maps instead of just Google maps on their websites. This is something to consider for larger medical centers that have several different medical sections.
4. Structure and Design
A healthcare website that is easy to navigate is essential.
Patients won’t spend a lot of time on your healthcare website if they can’t find what they are looking for. You should have the most important information easily accessible — especially when it comes to healthcare. Patients in most major cities have a large number of options in which they can select a physician or medical group. Usability will play a major role when a person is determining if they want to become your patient. When it comes to rural areas the choices may be more limited, but even in these cases, patients have the option to drive to a larger city nearby. Why let them? Impress patients with your healthcare website so they want to come visit your hospital or medical practice.
If you are unsure about the usability of your healthcare website, you should conduct usability testing with your target patient base. This testing will give you a better idea of how usable your website actually is and ways you can improve.
5. Eye catching images
Not only do you need eye catching images, but also ones that actually represent your patient population. Real photos are best, but there is also great stock imagery out there that you can use for a small price if you can’t get real images of patients.
Think about who your healthcare practice is looking to market to; are you trying to reach young families or targeting an older audience? Including images that represent this population can draw in these types of patients. Images of your staff is also a nice touch, because people are very visual and like to see who will be taking care of them.
6. Mobile Responsiveness
Make sure your website has been optimized for mobile and tablet devices. People do more and more online searches on their mobile devices — whether they are on the go or even sitting at home. You’ll want your website to be mobile friendly so that people don’t get frustrated with it when they are looking on those devices.
7. Patient Resources/Educational Information
The healthcare website content you provide to users is key to keeping them engaged and on your site for longer time periods. Patients are going to research medical information online themselves, so why not give them access to this information right from your site? It is hard for patients to sort through what is credible or not, so help them save time by providing these credible and educational online resources.
Other patient resources can include connecting your patients with online patient communities like ZocDoc, Healthgrades, Vitals, Rate MD, Google Reviews, and Yelp. There are even more than this, but these are some of the most popular ones. People tend to trust other patients opinions and recommendations of friends and family when it comes to choosing physicians.
These are just a few of what we see as the most important elements of an engaging healthcare website, but stay tuned for our next part of this series on features of an engaging healthcare website. And if you would like to learn about what Standard Beagle can do to help make your healthcare website more engaging, browse through our healthcare services.