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Monday, August 17, 2015

Give people what they want on your hospital website

Jennifer Garza, Digital Specialist, GAIC

Your hospital's website should be designed and written with the people who use it in mind. That includes your patients, families of patients, job seekers and healthcare consumers in your community.

When people visit your website, they're typically looking for very specific information. Making what they're seeking stand out on your site will help ensure that they can easily find what they're looking for—and build trust in your brand as a helpful, quality resource for healthcare and healthcare information. 

6 things people want to do on your hospital's website

At Coffey, we have years of experience creating engaging websites for hospitals and healthcare organizations—and we've seen a lot of data about how people actually use these sites. Of course, there's no one set of best practices that dictates the exact content every hospital website needs. But there are similarities in the types of actions people tend to take when they visit a hospital website.

Here's a look at 6 of the top things that people who visit a hospital website want to do:

1. Find out how to contact you. How you can help them: Put the "Contact Us" page in your primary navigation so it's clearly visible from every page of your hospital's website.

In addition to including important phone numbers and your address, your contact page should also have links to maps and directions.

2. Search for a doctor. How you can help them: Include the "Find a Doctor" page in your primary navigation so it's available throughout the site. And make searching for a doctor easy by giving people multiple options. Some people will know the name of the doctor they're searching for. Others will want to search by things like specialty or location.

3. Get information about a hospital service. How you can help them: Make your service pages easy to find. Here's how:

  • Create a master list of all your hospital's services. Put the services in alphabetical order so they're easy to scan.
  • Keep service link text simple—and lead with the most important words: Cancer Center, not Jane Doe Memorial Cancer Center. (You can put the service's official name on the page itself.)
  • Organize services logically. For example, make information about cardiac rehabilitation easy for someone with a heart problem to find by grouping it with other heart pages rather than putting it alongside rehabilitation pages.

Each service page should also offer a next step, like a phone number to call for more information or to schedule an appointment.

4. Look for a job. How you can help them: We sometimes see job pages placed inside the "About Us" section. But we recommend putting this important information in the primary navigation so it's easy to find.  

Pro tip: People tend to search for "Jobs" rather than "Careers," so consider using that word in this section of your website.

5. Sign up for a class or event. How you can help them: Include your main classes and events page in your primary navigation, but don't stop there. Promote upcoming events on your hospital's home page, and link to specific events on appropriate service pages. For example, your birthing center page should have links to information about childbirth classes.

6. Pay their bill. How you can help them: Not all hospitals offer online bill payment. If you don't, you should consider adding this popular feature.

Link to your online bill payment page from the "Patients and Visitors" section of your website. You may also want to promote it on your home page.

Is your hospital's website consumer-friendly?

We'd be happy to take a look and offer expert advice. Call 888.805.9101 or email us to talk about scheduling a no-obligation audit of your website.

Related posts

Inspiring action: How your hospital website design can help people get things done
How to choose a company to build your hospital website
How to know if your hospital website needs a redesign
Is a template website design right for your hospital?


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