My wife and I were up at four AM, and reached the hospital on the outskirts of Philadelphia at six. The very first sign we saw was this announcement, “Valet Parking for Handicapped Patients is $2 off.” Has I been handicapped and arriving for surgery without having had my coffee, the two dollar discount would have me waiting with baited breath for the opportunity to complete my customer satisfaction survey.
I had a few hours until my wife would be discharged, and I turned to the hospital’s web site to see if it provided an experience any more remarkable than the parking. At first blush it looked like there were links to everything. Many of the links led to black holes; you followed a succession of webpages until you hit a dead end. You were unable to accomplish whatever it was you set out to do, but there was enough stuff to click on to make it feel like there must be a pony hidden somewhere amongst the detritus.
There was a link if to donate, one for doctors, one for nurses, one for members of the board, more than two-dozen phone numbers, some videos, how to follow them on social media—displayed in two different places, links to teach you how to ‘eat on the go’ and how to know if you are pregnant—go to CVS, a place to view all of their awards, health information, directions, contact information, and even one for patient and visitor information.
Your health system’s website should not be a catchall for everything someone in IT can dream up. I would estimate that more than ninety-five percent of visitors to your website are either patients or potential patients. Yet, the link for patients is no more prominent than the link for posting baby photos.
Many health system home pages have the look and feel of the Craigslist website, but without the functionality.
Fifty percent of patients go to a hospital’s website to determine if they will get a second opinion. Eighty percent will visit it to determine if they will become your patient. Behind which of those links is the information that will help them make their decision? Which bit of information will cause them to stick with your hospital?
Some people are all set to buy healthcare from another hospital, yet they are at your web site to see if maybe they should go with you. Some people are all set to buy healthcare from your hospital, yet they are at your website to see if maybe they should go somewhere else.
Has anyone in your health system ever asked either group of people what they need to find on your website to get them to select your organization and then designed a website to accomplish that?
According to Nielsen, users will stay on a web page for 10-20 seconds. First time visitors spend less than that. If they do not find a value proposition, something to compel them to stay they leave. The average visitor only reads twenty percent of what is on the page. Look at your hospital’s homepage. Think about how much you can accomplish in ten seconds. If you were thinking of seeking a second opinion, could you even find what you were looking for? On average, 70% of people leave the site, and hence purchase healthcare somewhere else because they could not find what they needed.
They were dissatisfied.
They had a bad experience.
Patient experience occurs before someone gets to the hospital, and it occurs outside of the physical building. But they will never get to the building if their online experience and their phone experience compels them to look elsewhere.