With all that is on a healthcare professional’s mind every day, a website probably doesn’t make the list. But your health system website is always running in the background as an essential part of your operations.
For patients, this website is a digital front door (any channel where patients access care online) and information hub.
For business purposes, the website is the wellspring of the brand and establishes professional credibility among the community.
When planning your health system or hospital website, it is essential to consider what patients are looking for, but also what you want to be known for in the field. Careful planning ensures all your bases are covered and that your website will support relationships with patients for years to come.
Why Multi-Location Medical Systems Need a Well-Built Website
Websites for multi-location healthcare systems are essential for being found online, but they also serve as the “digital front door” for the patient experience. People increasingly turn to the internet to find care, while also doing their homework for peace of mind, and without a well-equipped health system website, you miss out on growth opportunities.
Medical websites are also essential to online presence as healthcare consumerism has revolutionized the industry. Your medical group website serves a purpose in many aspects, some of which you may not have realized.
- Centralized information hub + “digital front door” – Patients will have many questions about your facility, but are you giving them all the answers? People want accurate information, readily available, so not being able to find it can be frustrating. Providing what patients are looking for when they need it leads them along the patient journey.
- The digital patient journey – Providing the convenience that patients want is conducive to retention. Online features help patients do more for themselves. Access to telehealth, patient portal, online bill pay, and visitor information are key features to establish engagement with patients.
- Nurtures your brand – Your quality of care should be judged by the care provided, but your website winds up being a mirror of your capabilities. If you want to be seen as a competent and credible organization, you need a modern-looking, and enhanced website. Your website is also your canvas to establish what your brand is, what your values are, and what your mission is.
- Market differentiation – Healthcare branding done correctly will distinguish yours from the rest. This becomes even more vital when you are in a heavily populated and saturated market. Your unique mission and exceptional qualities need to shine through your website content.
- SEO – When you are covering different geographical areas and/or many locations, local search engine optimization for healthcare (how easy it is for patients to find you online) matters. Having separate pages branching off for each location helps Google understand the relevance to patient search terms so it can properly rank your site.
Having a well-built website from the start means not having to think about it. Reliable hosting, seamless usability, reliable support, and healthcare compliance from the start mean minimal to no disruption from website headaches.
READ MORE: Why Upgrading Your Medical Practice Website Is Vital to Retaining Patients
How To Build Healthcare Websites with Your Patients in Mind
Technology continues to centralize the patient experience. Your health system website helps patients along with their personal journey from becoming a new patient, to setting up a portal account, to looking up specialist referrals.
Be sure your website includes these attributes:
- Usability – Are the most popular features and information easy to find? Is the interface intuitive – meaning that the patient is well guided through the process?
- Accessibility – The devices we use to access the internet were designed for the abled. An ADA-accessible medical website removes barriers so that patients with impairments can have the same benefit of website features.
- Inclusivity – Your facility is open to all and comfortable for people of all backgrounds. Make sure they know this about your establishment through your digital communications.
- Security – Not sufficiently safeguarding your patient data can not only open your organization up to millions of dollars in fines, but it can also break trust with your patient population and the public. Be sure that your website is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) secure (the little lock icon to the left of the website address) and that it meets HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) compliance standards.
Best Patient-Focused Features for Health System Websites
How many times have you been waiting on the phone and a recorded message tells you what you can do on the website rather than be on hold? There is so much that patients can do for themselves online now, and your website raises awareness of these features and makes it easier for patients to access them.
Convenience and feature enhancement foster patient engagement, so interactive medical website tools are crucial. Patient engagement both attracts new patients and fosters better healthcare outcomes.
Mobile-first design has been at the forefront of internet development for some time now, and Google has pushed to make this standard practice for some time now. Google can tell if your website is mobile-friendly or not and tends to lower search visibility for websites that are lacking..
With the majority using their mobile devices to find just about every product or service online (including searching for providers) a health system website must follow responsive design conventions (adapting to the mobile experience interface). Patients are likely to instantly abandon a website that doesn’t look or function right on their handheld devices, as mobile-friendly websites are now commonplace and what consumers expect.
Online Appointment Scheduling
Offering online booking means less time on the phone for both patients and staff. While online scheduling is not appropriate for all types of appointments, you can have some of this automated in a scheduling system.
Appointment request forms can also be enabled on the website to capture patients who are interested in scheduling an appointment at one of your facilities. As a whole, the website should provide the guidance needed to help patients along their digital patient journey.
Easy Patient Portal Access
When it comes to records like test results, both sharing results and getting results can fail with one missed phone call. Patients trying to reach a provider can also be difficult. These are a few patient engagement breakdowns that the patient portal can repair.
Tip: Having a patient portal button prominently displayed on your website makes it easy to direct patients to it.
Easy to Navigate Information Among Departments and Specialties
Healthcare establishments with multiple locations, departments, clinics, and specialties have quite a bit to organize. Intuitive web design makes it easy for patients to access information quickly and painlessly.
What will each type of patient want to know about each aspect of your healthcare organization? Are all your current providers represented? Be sure the website includes everything and that what patients need is easy to find.
Information for New Patients
New patient intake has many moving parts, and a patient-centered establishment aims to make this process as seamless and streamlined as possible. Online resources (videos, how-to pages, or checklists) can help patients know what to do prior to the appointment and upon arrival.
In the past, patients have been asked to come in early to do paperwork. Having new patient forms online gives patients the flexibility to fill out the forms when they have the time prior to the appointment. This can reduce paper usage and the stress of trying to get everything filled out at the time of the visit.
Patient Education and Other Education Resources
A more engaged patient population is going to have many questions as each individual takes on an active role in the care plan. A patient education library, blogs, explanation videos, and more, are all tools you can use on your health system website to help patients understand their bodies better.
There is an overwhelming amount of health information on the internet, and contradicting sources can confuse a patient and even derail their care plan. Having resources on your website, vetted by your clinicians, helps cut through the noise, and clear up misconceptions
Clear And Easy to Find Contact Information
While a website can do amazing things, it cannot do everything. In some cases, patients need to contact the facility directly generally by phone, but sometimes by mail, or email.
A “contact us” page is standard with web design, but when you have multiple locations or departments, it is important to distinguish contact information between each. Provide interactive maps, directories, or other means to direct them to the specific area they need.
Having click-to-call functionality on your website is also standard these days, especially when it comes to the mobile experience. This means that when you click on the phone number, it automatically drops the phone number into the dialer so there is no need for the patient to type it in manually. Our website design experts recommend putting your main phone number at the top of each page.
READ MORE: 5 Steps to Get More Patients Through a Website
Get a Customized Health System Website Built for an Exceptional Patient Experience
Websites for hospitals, multi-location health systems, medical groups, and the like need a carefully organized medical website design that encompasses all the organization has to offer in a way that patients can easily consume.
Our team of experienced health system website planners put together a customized website patients will love that runs on autopilot while you run your operations. We also offer ongoing support so if something does go awry, we help get you back up and running as soon as possible.
We set up a discovery meeting to discuss your marketing strategy, unique patient population, and your organization’s needs so we can build a website that fits seamlessly into your operations.
Want to learn more about how to build a professional website for a large healthcare organization? Contact us today at (877) 709-0999 to discuss!