Better Patient Experience Starts with a Better Online Experience Posted by Emily Brady | 8.21.15 9:53am

A survey conducted by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems found that positive patient experiences with healthcare providers include a satisfactory hospital environment, communication with nurses and doctors, responsive staff members, and more.

But what if a better patient experience starts outside the hospital? With the right website design and interface, you can boost patient satisfaction and engagement before visitors step foot in your office. Here’s how:

Understand the Importance of a Great Website Experience

As many as 89% of consumers use search engines like Google to start the buying process. This principal applies to the healthcare industry as well. Some researchers call this “patient activation,” when medical patients engage in their treatment and take affirmative action to improve their health and well-being.

This level of engagement is imperative to patient experience and starts with the patient’s first impression of the hospital, practitioner, or treatment center. For many people, this first impression happens online.

In another study, researchers found that doctors are twice as likely to retain patients who actively engage in their personal health, and engaged patients are three times more likely to schedule a follow-up appointment within six months of the first visit.

Additionally, the majority of adults in the United States (59%) use the internet to find health-related information, and 72% of surveyed adults said they looked for this information online in the past year. Of these patients, 77% began their search for treatment using search engines.

Traditional vs. Inbound Marketing & Patient Engagement

So, how important is online marketing in the healthcare industry? Studies from MarketingSherpa show a serious uptick in inbound marketing techniques, starting in 2014 when marketers planned to increase their budgets for the following tools:

Traditional marketing techniques were not afforded the same budget increases. In fact, less than half of marketers said they planned to devote more of their budget to direct mail advertising, contextual advertising, trade shows, print advertising, broadcasting, and telemarketing.

Listen to Your Clientele – What Makes a Better Website?

Studies show a link between patient satisfaction and online experience. In one case, a cancer center increased patient satisfaction by creating a content-driven campaign that focused on the needs of patients. That way, newly diagnosed cancer patients could search for information about their diagnosis, treatment options, and overall health.

In another survey, a children’s hospital in Colorado asked patients how they could improve their online experience. The answer? Make the site easy to navigate, easy to find specific conditions their child may need treatment for, and visually appealing.

Cater to the Expectations of Your Audience

The important thing is to remember who you’re targeting and how to meet their specific needs on your website. If a website is generic or sparse, patients are less likely to pick up the phone and make an appointment. If you provide the information they’re looking for online, visitors can expect the same positive, patient-oriented service when they visit your hospital or treatment center.

Work with an Expert Healthcare Marketing Vendor to Improve Your Online Campaign

Catering your website to the needs and expectations of potential clientele isn’t easy. With the help of an expert marketing vendor, you can take your online campaign to the next level. Whether you represent a hospital, major healthcare network, or individual practitioner, patient satisfaction starts with website engagement on a high-quality website.