In recent years, Google and other search engines have become the average consumer’s best friend. So, it comes as no surprise that more and more patients begin their healthcare journeys with a query. It could be a search for certain symptoms they’ve been experiencing, the locations of nearby care clinics, or a question about making payments.
In a recent consumer health survey, 70% of consumers said they prefer a digital healthcare solution over making a visit in-person or talking by phone. However, under 50% of these consumers took advantage of these digital tools.
Awareness is definitely a factor, which is why healthcare websites must deploy practical tools and comprehensive content to improve the patient experience and build credibility.
While healthcare systems likely recognize the importance of improving the patient experience, the focus is often on clinical processes and not on the digital tools that can aid patient education and information.
How to Innovate Your Healthcare Website
Instead of merely supplying basic features on a patient-centered website, healthcare organizations should innovate and accommodate more advanced needs. A greater focus on positive patient outcomes will improve trust and encourage repeat visits.
- Symptom Analyzers
Aches, pains, and other symptoms are common concerns for patients. A tool that analyzes their symptoms is a great way for a healthcare website to educate patients while also building trust. If patients want a more in-depth understanding of a particular symptom or ailment, it would be helpful to offer a library with information, photos, and even videos that discuss treatment.
This symptom checker can even be paired with options to schedule appointments or to locate a doctor, ensuring that patients don’t navigate to a different website or go elsewhere for treatment.
- An Improved Financial Experience
Cost is a significant concern for a large majority of Americans, so it’s vital to provide tools that can improve their financial experiences. Reducing the cost of healthcare is everyone’s top priority, but healthcare websites can ease financial stress in other ways. The best way to do this is to build tools that can calculate coverage, cost, and co-pays.
- Consistent Content
Websites aren’t meant to be static. Building the ideal digital experience for patients should include a commitment to keeping the website up to date. It’s common for healthcare organizations to make initial investments in their websites only to turn their attention elsewhere once it’s functioning.
Regularly updating your healthcare website is important for SEO purposes, but it’s also important to consider how patients interact with the website. Innovation in the healthcare industry is constant, and patients might be put off by outdated content.
Broken links and outdated contact information can be even more frustrating than old content. Failing to frequently maintain and update the website can push business away.
- Virtual Messaging/Appointments
With the growing dependence on mobile technology and digital tools, it’s no surprise that live messaging and virtual appointments are becoming more common. Technological advancements mean that face-to-face appointments aren’t always necessary for proper diagnoses and treatments, at least in non-emergency cases.
Providing a virtual method for patients to receive care can vastly improve the patient experience because it gives individuals another care option. These options eliminate friction in the care process because patients can choose what works best for them.
The Keys to Success
Embracing innovative digital tools is necessary for building credibility among patients, but it’s not the only hurdle healthcare websites must face. There are four keys to success for healthcare websites that incorporate e-commerce:
- Website Speed: Page speed should be a priority for healthcare businesses because it’s been proven that faster websites generate more business.
- Accessibility: Patients are relying on mobile devices more than ever before, but the majority of consumers still experience issues when visiting websites. Successful websites will provide access to mobile users with minimal hiccups.
- Security: Cyberattacks are a constant threat, yet the majority of healthcare companies don’t have complete cybersecurity programs.
- Visibility: Customers must have visibility into the status of their e-commerce orders, and delivery must be fast. Many patients depend on timely deliveries and failing to meet expectations will be costly.
To learn more about the core elements of successful healthcare websites, read my whitepaper, “The Keys to Success for an E-Commerce Business in the Healthcare Marketplace.”