Hospitals should not underestimate the importance of their online presence. These days a patient’s experience with a hospital begins even before they set foot in the hospital doors — it begins online as an e-patient. You must ensure your website is providing what is needed, because this is the start of the patient’s relations with your hospital.
We conducted some research to find the successful hospitals that provide a great patient experience and see if their websites reflect this experience online.
For each hospital we researched, we compared it with two local competitors and did a full review of their websites as well. Looking through 30+ hospital websites, we looked for the following features:
- Attractive web page design
- Flow of information
- Educational resources & links
- Ease of use
- Interactive elements like videos and pictures
We found the best websites had a balance of text, images, and video. They provide a range between scientific textual details of a surgical procedure and inspiring patient story videos. Highlighting past patients with “patient stories” adds an important human touch to these websites.
To provide patients what they are looking for, service line webpages need to provide information on all the procedures they provide, with textual description, online guides, pictures, and a variety of videos.
We found many beautiful webpages, organized and designed well, but clearly driven to promote their hospital services by talking at patients, not engaging with them or answering their questions. A scan of 30+ websites helped us to recognize which hospitals really focus on the patient’s point of view, and which hospitals are more self-centric.
The best webpages put the patient first… they recognize a need for information through a variety of mediums. They recognize a need to connect on a human level, and they do so with the stories of their past patients. What better way to learn about a procedure than to hear from a patient who has “been there, done that!” A dedicated patient stories page offers a variety of perspectives and makes it easy for prospective patients to feel they are at the right place.
Generally we found that those hospitals that provide a patient with a great online experience translate into providing a great total experience, which will eventually reflect positively in ratings and reviews.
We have identified a few different things on a hospital website that can help ensure the site offers a great e-patient experience. You can apply this list to your website, and you may even come out with some suggestions for your hospital to implement:
- Combine text, pictures, and video on webpages
- Links to details and guides on procedures
- Links to outside resources, rehab information, pain control
- Patient stories (text with picture, or video)
- Email newsletters/in-person classes
- Introduction and pictures of surgeons
- Animations/diagrams of surgical procedures