[Part 3 of a 3-Part Series: Success converting consumers to patients]
So far, our blog series on successfully converting consumers to patients has tackled the massive data learning opportunities at providers’ and doctors’ fingertips during the pre-visit phase, as well as the need to approach the holistic patient experience from the patient’s perspective.
Now, it’s time to talk about enhancing that pre-visit process from a patient experience perspective. While there are many ways to go about this, there is one practical, and absolutely critical way to make enhancements: the website. Hey Rubber, meet Road.
The good news is that website optimization is a win-win pursuit. Once the pre-visit data learning opportunities are properly seized by providers and doctors, and their patients have placed well-earned trust in their brand because those patients sense that the experience has been designed with the patient in mind, everybody wins. Healthcare feels like actual care, on both sides.
Website Enhancement #1: Optimize for speed and responsiveness
From waking to working to shopping to eating to sleeping, consumers spend hours on their mobile devices and computers. Most customer service experiences at least begin, if not exist entirely, online. Healthcare is behind many other industries that have tailored their user experiences to meet the expectations of today’s digital consumer.
- Hospital websites should be fast and smooth. Consider the 3-second rule: 40% of all consumers will leave a website if it doesn’t load in three seconds. You’ll never get conversions if you can’t (and keep) consumers on your site.
- Responsiveness is key. A Think Google study showed that 1/3 of patients used a mobile device or tablet on a daily basis to research and/or book appointments. Websites must be designed for laptops, as well as mobile devices. Marketing research has shown a responsive website is a top desire for patients.
- Online search and scheduling, please! Patients have been (literally and figuratively) searching for this, and will begin shouting it from the rooftops in the next few years.
Website Enhancement #2: Anticipating consumers’ needs starts with knowing what the consumer actually needs
The next step after that first, online impression is personalization as patients continue their consumer journey.
Each potential patient has specific priorities based on their health needs. Part 1 of this blog series on data covered the myriad ways consumers could prioritize how they search for providers and doctors.
- User Ratings
- Clinical Interest
- Philosophy of Care
- Informational Materials
- …and Others
Identifying the pieces of information consumers prioritize during the consumers’ pre-visit research is crucial. The next step is to implement a robust online search and scheduling system that provides the ability to anticipate consumers’ needs using analytics collected from patients’ searches.
The right online search and scheduling platform enables providers and doctors to track what pieces their patients care about, and further augment those priorities for future conversions.
Website Enhancement #3: A “one-stop shop” might actually stop patients from shopping around
Leakage is a massive issue for hospital systems (which we’ll have to dedicate a full post to in the future). There are health payers, third party administrators, physicians employed by the hospital, private practices, specialists, and marketing departments that are working somewhat independently behind the scenes, but the patient experience should be seamless.
This needs to be true from the moment the patient clicks onto the website from their search engine.
Consumers are interested in building a relationship with a trust, a one-stop provider, where, according to a Think Google study, patients are considered active partners. The same study also concluded that consumers are willing to place their trust in brands built on unity. The website experience needs to communicate this and keep the patient in that brand’s health ecosystem.
Implementing online search and scheduling a practical first step
Accenture predicts that by 2019, online scheduling will skyrocket, and 64% of patients will engage with digital self-scheduling. Even now, A McKinsey & Company study reported that 75% of current patients would like to use digital health services.
It’s important to start enhancing the online pre-visit patient experience. A customizable online search and scheduling platform is a practical way to start that patient relationship. Patients will be demanding it, and by 2019, 100% of the top 100 US health systems will offer it. It’s time to get started today.