Another meeting in the land of skinny jeans and Converse sneakers worn without socks. I need to go shopping. Neatly trimmed pita bread sandwiches made of ground straw and loam. I examined each of the sandwiches in the hope that one of them might have a something with a cloven hoof protruding from the garnish of bean sprouts.
Business problems always begin small, always begin small—like that Watergate security guard performing his nightly rounds and finding a piece of burglar’s tape stuck on a door lock. But problems are never content to stay small. Real problems only remain small in the minds of the individuals overlooking them.
If digital health is not currently seen as a problem in your organization, it will do until a bigger one comes around. George Orwell had visions of problems like these.
The big word in healthcare for now and all of the foreseeable future is digital. The problem begins when people start to believe that they are already ahead of the curve. Website; check. Mobile app; check. Patient portal; check.
And if your health system has the misfortune of having won an award for its website, your problem is probably twice as bad as the firm which doesn’t even have a website.
Let’s talk about digital agencies for a minute. Digital agencies—A.K.A marketing firms. In today’s vernacular, think Mad Men without the ties and martinis. These firms market themselves to your firm—that is how they got you as a client. They want to help you build your brand in the changing world of healthcare.
How’s that working for you? You already have a brand. You don’t need a new one. You don’t need to become Our Lady of Digital Health—Now With 20% More Healing Power In Every Box.
Providers do not need to be branded as digital. They need to be digital. It is about user experience and about doing stuff; mobile stuff and online stuff.
There is a big difference. If what you have is a website, the only test you’ve passed is your ability to check the box. Most provider websites are nothing more than lipstick on a pig. You see your website as a big victory in the digital war, a war badly in need of another notch on your success pole.
If you want to figure out just how bad your website is and how poor the advice you are paying for is, try doing these things.
Ask how many individual web pages are on your health system’s website. If the number of pages requires the use of a comma, you have a real problem. Nobody on the planet will ever go to your website looking for whatever tidbit of information is contained on page 5,987. Nobody.
Now, ask your self, “How many questions would you be willing to answer to schedule an appointment online; 0-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, or more than 40? The right answer is not all of the above.
Yesterday I took a website on a test drive. The link’s label was Request an Appointment. As you know, I happen to think words matter. If I am going to your site for an appointment, I am not going there to request an appointment. I took up the challenge and started to answer the questions they felt I needed to know to make my request. I provided an answer to question forty and clicked next. It gave me more questions. Really.
Guess what it did not do. It did not create me as a user even though I had entered my email and a password. The system never came back to me with, “Congratulations, Dude. Nobody has ever answered as many questions as you did. Just for getting as far as you did, we are going to remove your appendix for free. You are almost ready to request an appointment.”
I have used a phone to actually make appointments and I do not think I have ever been asked even ten questions.
Talk to a patient after you finish patting yourself on the back for launching your new website and watch how they react to using it.
Now, if you want to watch someone’s head explode. download this presentation about how Pokemon GO will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about how digital will really impact healthcare.