How to Get the Best Hospital Website for 2023 & Beyond
Thanks to the pandemic, people are more confident than ever in using the internet to learn new skills and complete tasks. This includes using hospital websites to access healthcare services normally offered in person. In 2020, with support from payors and regulatory agencies, hospitals expanded telemedicine options to include video visits with a provider, scheduling COVID tests via smartphone, and much more. Some patients tolerated the technology while others discovered a preference for virtual care!
Looking into 2023 and beyond, the reliance on digital tools and services will continue to grow. And where do most of those tools live? Your website! That’s why now is the time to evaluate your capabilities in the digital space and identify what it will take to give your patients the experience they expect.
Brandon Scott, VP of Digital at Ten Adams, has successfully orchestrated upgrades and overhauls of dozens of health-related websites. His digital crystal ball predicts that successful sites of the future are three things:
- Easy to find
- Quick to solve problems
- Mobile friendly
So, how do you get a site that meets all three of those criteria and ranks as a “best” hospital website? You read the rest of this blog!
3 Key Questions for Hospital Website Success
Is it time to redesign my website?
That’s the million-dollar question for any team contemplating web work. To find an answer, we suggest starting with a series of questions. The results serve as a barometer indicating the degree of change needed to meet current industry standards.
- Does your website appear in a Google search? On what page of results?
- How much time and effort does it take users to do what they came to do on your site?
- Do they bounce quickly or leave frustrated?
- Can your website solve the following problems quickly and from a mobile device:
- I need an urgent care facility that is open right now. It’s a weekday night and I’m searching on my phone from the ballfield because my kid’s ankle might be broken.
- Where is the nearest emergency department? I’m an adult child visiting my mother. She might be having a heart attack and I don’t know where to go.
- My reluctant spouse/parent finally agreed to see a doctor. Who has an appointment available soon, before they change their mind?
Dig into these questions and be honest about the speed and dexterity of your site. Take time to engage in patient journey mapping to understand what scenarios and situations the patient experiences, and ultimately improve them. Identifying specific deficits and successes is critical for the next step.
How do I choose a web design partner?
Choosing a skilled and reliable agency partner for healthcare web design is an important task, but how do you know which one is best suited to your project? Ask an expert! Brandon, our VP of Digital, thinks there are three “must-haves” when selecting a web design partner.
Healthcare website expertise
When compared to the virtual retail or entertainment industry, healthcare is a unicorn. Sure, we want a functional page that looks pretty, but is it compliant?
HIPAA, ADA, financial assistance, privacy, pricing, data transparency, quality, accessibility, nondiscrimination...the list goes on. If your web design partner doesn’t speak the lingo, find someone who does. Noncompliance related to protected health information and federal law is the fastest way to find yourself party to a lawsuit.
Web development skills
The future of web design revolves around user experience. That’s why successful sites engage developers to create and follow an information architecture strategy. A solid back-end structure leads to an organized and easy-to-navigate system enabling consumers to find what they need.
Another critical part of the construction process involves optimization. If you want patients to find you on Google, select a partner with in-depth knowledge and understanding of search engine optimization (SEO). Unless you live in the world of algorithms, long-tail keywords, UX, UI, AI, and cookie-pocalypse, there’s no way to stay current.
(Our team also has thoughts on how healthcare marketers can benefit from ChatGPT and AI.)
The visual appeal of your site is just as important as the internal structure. So, potential web design partners need a thorough understanding of modern design techniques and tools. For example, dark mode will continue its popularity in 2023 (easier on our eyes and saves battery life) as will the clean and uncluttered minimalist style (translates well to mobile devices).
A great design partner knows how to marry form and function while simultaneously creating a visually appealing environment.
How do I get leadership buy-in for a website redesign?
Once you’ve done the work necessary to establish what you need and who can provide it, you still have to convince leadership to approve yet another digital expense. To secure that spot in the budget, focus your efforts on these tasks.
Bring the utilization data
To make a convincing case for change, show your admin team some meaningful data. At Ten Adams, we employ a proprietary discovery process to show healthcare marketers what their patients want, how they behave online, pain points of utilization and what competitors have to offer. It’s hard to argue for complacency when the competition is clearly out-performing you.
Highlight digital compliance issues
If your current site doesn’t meet standards for ADA, Medicare- and Medicaid-approved language, and a variety of financial rules, point that out! Many clinical leaders in your health system don’t understand what it takes to maintain digital compliance, and this is the perfect opportunity to educate them and flex some marketing muscle.
Capitalize on organizational pride
If the chairman of your hospital board attended a major industry conference and had to show everyone your website, would they feel proud or embarrassed? Emotions are powerful, so take that sense of organizational pride and show the executive team how it connects to your digital efforts. Explain (or reiterate) that healthcare happens online now. Your website is often the first encounter with potential customers, and having a current, relevant, functional, user-friendly site is just as important as delivering compassionate, high-quality patient care.
Side note from our strategy team - A process called Executive Visioning creates space and time to build better relationships with senior administrators, align your marketing plan with the organization’s high-level vision, and become a trusted partner and problem solver. We can't recommend it enough!
The rate of digital transformation in the medical field won’t slow down any time soon. To stay competitive in your market, hospital website design must be a priority. If you’re ready to talk redesign or have questions about our proprietary discovery process, connect with our experts.