Your website is your digital front door for patients to receive care. You need a strong foundation of data, content, and tools to keep your digital front door open. As I have blogged over the past few days:

  • Data makes your digital front door findable.
  • Descriptive content such as blogs and physician mission statements helps people seeking care decide on whether to become your patients.
  • The right tools create patient conversions.

Two essential tools that you should invest in to convert patients are:

  • Physician directories. Directories help patients with the most important part of healthcare discovery: finding a doctor to meet their needs. Directories need to offer the search functionality and user experience that the most effective store locators in retail provide. Your website needs to make physician directories easily findable, with more than one path to discovery because patients often click on different sections of a website to find what they need. In addition, your search functionality must shorten the timeframe from searching to booking an appointment.  For instance, your directory search tool should help patients narrow their search by proximity to the patient, insurance covered, and specialty.
  • Booking tools. Booking tools, such as click-to-call functionality, appointment request forms, and scheduling widgets accelerate the velocity of the patient journey from search to appointment. These tools also reveal another layer of content that patients want to see, which is the amount of time it’s going to take to see a physician. Booking tools encourage that “next moment,” or the moment that occurs after a patient needing care finds you. When you design your website and physician pages to prominent feature booking tools, you make that next click to care easy. And ease is essential to creating access.

In both cases, the tools you provide should be:

  • Easy to find especially from a mobile device.
  • User friendly and efficient. Difficult online booking engines will simply turn away patients, as will complicated provider search directories. Complicated physician directories that require too many steps and that require the patient to leave the directory to obtain more information will turn away patients.

If you want to talk more about creating better patient access and engagement with data, content, and tools, contact us anytime. SIM Partners provides the technology, business intelligence, and consulting to attract and retain patients.

In addition, I’m going to be discussing this topic in more detail at the annual Health Internet Conference (HCIC) in Austin. If you are at HCIC, please come see me on Tuesday, October 24 at 3:30 PM as I co-present with my client, Moira Green, Moira Green, the Web project manager at Bellin Health. We’ll discuss turning your hospital website into an effective digital front door that acts as a foundation for engagement and care, and content will be an important part of our discussion. Moira will share her experience with managing a hospital website and how that experience has improved the patient experience. Click here to view the session.

I hope to see you there.