Dear Hospitals, Stop Structuring Your Websites Based on Your Org Charts

Sep 12, 2017

When health officials talk about the future of “personalized medicine,” they’re typically thinking about doctor-patient relationships, electronic medical records (EMR) and designer drugs.

But, what they really need to start thinking about is personalization for patients. Deloitte’s latest Consumer Priorities in Health Care Survey showed that for patients visiting hospital or healthcare websites, personalization is a top priority.

“Patients expect an easy-to-use and personalized online health care management experience. Health care providers that fail to offer this experience will see lower patient satisfaction scores and potentially a decrease in repeat patients.” -Hospitals & Health Networks

Patients coming to a hospital or health care system’s website are often stressed and looking for information on a specific diagnosis, treatment, or area of specialty. Digital personalization would allow you to recognize that visitor’s interest and prioritize that information for them when they return.
Put another way, personalization is a way of showing you care. Hospitals in particular have had a difficult time personalizing because they have yet to embrace a patient-centric mindset when it comes to the most basic elements of their digital experiences. For example, one common mistake hospitals make is assuming that the way they are structured internally in terms of “lines of business” or org charts makes for a good navigation structure of the site. All too often, the way a hospital is organized operationally is mirrored on a site.

We’ll let you in on a secret: Your patient doesn’t care about your org chart.

And patients aren’t the only ones visiting healthcare websites. There are various healthcare audiences who go to your website for information often before they go anywhere else like:

  • Healthcare administrators
  • Healthcare Providers (HCP)
  • Caregivers
  • Students/academics/researchers
  • Donors

Imagine tailoring what they see online to what they want?

Getting started with personalization doesn’t have to be intimidating, it’s a continuum where you can personalize as little as one piece of information on your home page. For example, for visitors who once looked for IBS information, upon their next visit present them with patient stories and doctors who specialize in IBS. OR, create a more personalized experience with a greater number of targeted content pieces like blog posts or infographics. Content is what they are after; the easier you make it to find specific information, the more loyalty you are creating. Patients will feel like you’ve thought about them beforehand and trust that you are going to continue personalizing their experience upon every future visit.

Getting started doesn't take a huge investment. At Genuine, we typically workshop three key steps with our healthcare clients that identifies how online personalization can help them deliver a more personalized medical experience:

  • Identify priority audiences and their key journeys. Everything starts with the user - what they want, what they’re motivated by, where they need to go next. We workshop personas and healthcare-specific journeys to help align the team.
  • Audit your technical ecosystem. Our strategy and tech teams work together with all the key technical and business stakeholders to identify the right platform. Most site platforms offer some level of personalization; the decision on how to further personalize your customer’s experiences needs to be driven by your users’ and organizations’ needs.
  • Determine your content capabilities. This is where many personalization projects fall down. You need strong content to answer your patients needs. Patients and caregivers are likely to want reassuring information on procedures and diagnoses, along with admin info; HCPs are likely to want admin info, research and reputational information.

The promise of “personalized medicine” is enormous and goes far beyond the digital experience, but starting with the transformation of your online presence doesn’t have to be daunting. Personalizing your website experience for patients, administrators, donors, doctors and others is a great first step - and first impression.

Want to explore what a personalized website might look like for your company? Email us at contacts@wearegenuine.com.

Joe Panepinto, PhD is SVP and head of strategy at Genuine. His team designs and develops digitally-driven business, creative, experience and ecosystem strategies.