In the case of a medical emergency, a successful clinical portal has to meet the following two conditions at once: it should pop up in the back of the person’s mind and at the front of search results. To achieve this level of influence, your medical website’s design needs that wicked Jedi mind power to attract visitors, engage them and make them come back again and again.
A resource’s ultimate goal is to become a patient’s Master Yoda guide to the twists and turns of their health. A great medical website is able to meet patients halfway, educate and comfort them, and leave them more confident about their well-being.
Supported by cutting-edge technologies and breakthroughs, healthcare is one of the most important industries for human lives. Unfortunately, only examination and treatment are subject to first-priority innovation (for example, in vitro diagnostic medical equipment developments). So, persuading a caregiver to revamp or optimize their medical website can be challenging, as this effort is far outside their focal point.
So, the first question is – why should health providers pay extra attention to their websites?
An integral part of the Meaningful Use criteria, patient engagement, encourages individuals to contribute to their own well-being, thus reducing readmissions and improving care outcomes.
And the first tool to provide effective patient engagement – hug your patients at the doorstep, shake their hands and lead them into a physician’s office – is your website.
We’ve gone through a number of top clinical websites and noticed that they have several common characteristics. These are only some key features, but they will help your medical website stand out from other health resources.
1. Designed to Persuade and Help
Master Yoda sas, at the head of every clinical portal user interface should be, patients are most in need of humane and friendly words empowered with:
- Responsive design
- Straightforward navigation
- Credible messages that speak directly to patients
- Comprehensive and illustrated service descriptions
- Moderate use of medical jargon
We put responsive design at the top as Healthcare IT News states that mobile healthcare technology makes NIH’s (National Institutes of Health) list of 14 goals for the next 5 years. Moreover, mHealth technologies correlate with ACA’s plan to reduce excessive preventable readmissions. And, finally, Medicare spends more than $17 billion on avoidable readmissions annually.
Should any acute situation occur, a person might find themselves under an extreme pressure, panicky and irrational. What’s in their hands right now, a mouse or a phone? You can guess it. So, either the website is flawless across devices or you are blamed for falling short of the person’s expectations at the moment of utmost need.
2. Content Personalization. Jedi or Sith?
Content personalization is the light saber of a medical website. Without this influential tool, the resource is standing at the crossroads while needing to choose a side. If you decide to go on with the light side, get ready to accept the robe, the saber and the following consequences.
The Jedi side is the right personalization. You don’t overuse it, you’re careful, respectful and – what is most important – precisely targeted. Personalization is about picking and using the right details to bring patients what they need. So, you improve your revenue while nurturing and caring about your patients through:
- Relevant services shown according to the patient’s previous visits. For example, if an individual has checked some information about implant dentistry or plastic surgery on your website, during the next visit they can continue where they left off via the recently visited section.
- Clinic locations search offering the closest facilities first
- Pages providing personalized promotions
- Loyalty systems with cumulative discounts, bonus points and other incentives
To efficiently personalize content, medical websites can use patients’ personal information, such as:
- EHR/EMR system health data (we make sure they are compliant with HIPAA rules)
- Browsing history from previous visits
- Current browsing behavior
- And the trickiest part: information about family members
On the other hand, the wrong personalization makes your website a Sith, undermining the promising relations with patients and making them apprehensive about the service quality of the whole medical practice. If a barren woman opens a website and sees a page offering a personalized discount on fetal ultrasound, she might feel insulted and even mocked. She may even consider abandoning this medical provider.
3. Protected Functionality Starships
We consider the patient portal as a very important, next-to-mandatory element of a medical website. Patients want to have health data at their fingertips, and secure. Privacy must be at the core of patient portals. From resource to resource, secure features typically include:
- Appointment scheduling options
- Examination results
- Prescriptions and medication refill request form
- Online billing
Again, this is just the basic scope serving most patients’ needs. We are sure that only through further customization with careful research and testing a medical provider can highlight the more peculiar details that enable an open dialogue with patients.
Jedi Website: Credibility via Technology
What do your patients need? Usability that won’t let them down in acute situations, access to health data, and personalized offers embedded into a protected system. Being able to communicate with physicians and track down their current treatment progress and lab results, patients feel more confident and empowered.
By shedding the light on the health problem, showing care and attention and giving the patient the needed information, you are creating a forceful halo of engagement. So let’s create a useful patient portal, include personalization and ensure responsive design with a friendly UI. That’s what transforms a medical website into a Master Yoda.
By Vadzim Belski, PHP Department Coordinator at a software development company ScienceSoft. With over 10 years of experience, he has taken part in large-scale web projects with a primary focus on the healthcare industry.