I was talking with a healthcare provider recently about the state of their provider’s location data and physician content. It was clear to the them, and to me, that its location data was inaccurate and its physician content was unhelpful. The provider’s address was not showing up consistently on Google searches, and its physician pages lacked effective online appointment booking. This problematic information was making it too hard for patients to do business with them. Sounds like an urgent problem, right?

Wrong.

The provider told me that even though the data and content needed to be fixed, the changes would have to wait until the provider was done with a major website redesign.

I’ve been in this situation too many times to count. Website redesigns are difficult. They consume energy and time like an unstoppable force of nature. It’s understandable that a provider takes the mentality of “I’ll fix the data as soon as I get my website ready.” But this kind of mentality undermines the reason that providers have an online presence in the first place: to create and keep patients.

Here’s what happens when you put off improving your location data and content:

You Kill Your Visibility

According to a recently released report by Internet Health Management, the most common reason patients visit provider websites it to find basic data as phone numbers, hours, and provider location. When your location data – including your name, address, and phone number – is accurate, you make your providers’ names more visible in online search results. But when your location data is incomplete or inaccurate, you might as well erase your provider name from the digital world. Why? Because search engines penalize sites with poor data by submerging them in search results.

The problem is that healthcare systems must manage myriad data to make themselves visible to search engines. Typically healthcare systems need to manage data for hospitals, physicians, and areas of specialty such as physical therapy. Keeping data accurate takes work. Physicians come and go. New locations get opened. Insurance coverage changes. In other words, your business changes every day.

Unless your data changes along with your business, your digital identity will suffer, thus destroying all the work you’ve put into making your website more effective.

You Lose Business

Patients want to do more than find your physicians. They want to book appointments with them. They want to learn more about them. According to Internet Health Management, besides looking for data, patients go to provider websites to schedule appointments, view test results, and a host of other health management functions. Here is where keeping your content up to date comes into play – especially content on physician pages.

In fact, improving physician page content may very well be the greatest untapped opportunity in healthcare right now.

Physicians are on the front lines acting as ambassadors for their healthcare systems – not only to patients but to other physicians wanting to find referrals for their own patients. Deep content such as physician rating/reviews, videos of mission statements, and details about a physician’s background and passion for healthcare make physicians more approachable after a patient finds them. Tools such as online booking engines then encourage the next moment of patient access.

And here’s a crucial point to keep in mind: you can improve your data and content while you’re making many other changes to your website. There is absolutely no reason to put off improvements in data and provider content just because you’re redesigning a site. In fact, updating location data for the publishers and aggregators of data such as Google and Apple happens outside your website. And the payoff is great: better data makes your practice findable when patients use Google Maps or Apple Maps to find you.

So what are you waiting for? Contact SIM Partners. We can help you.

 

 

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