Physicians love to talk about the patient experience. It’s become a trending topic of conversation in recent years—and rightly so. From appointment scheduling to the visit itself, the friendliness of the staff to the ease of the billing process, all physicians want to deliver an outstanding experience for their patients. But there’s one thing we’re missing…
Hey, what’s up everybody, and welcome to the Medical Marketing Podcast from Messenger – the show where we give you actionable tips and advice to help improve your practice marketing, grow revenue, and take patient experience to the next level. I’m your host, Crawford Ifland, and today we’re going to be talking about Patient Experience.
Although most physicians claim to take a holistic approach to the patient experience, a quick Google search reveals that, by and large, their digital presence didn’t get a seat at the table. Every single day, we’re creating more and more information, and spending more and more of our lives online…so if you want to think about the experience patients have in a holistic way, why limit it to only the interactions you have in person?
The fact is, the best patient experience doesn’t start when a patient walks in your front door – it’s already started long before that.
More than 8 out of 10 patients today begin their search for a doctor online – the importance of your practice website cannot be overstated. In today’s episode, we’ll look at three of the most important considerations to take into account.
A Responsive Website
If we had to rank the most important factors in creating a successful practice website, the #1 element would be “responsiveness” – sometimes called “mobile-friendly” websites.
A responsive website is one whose design changes depending on the size of the screen it’s being viewed on. If you look at it on a laptop, you see full-screen images, elements side-by-side, and a full menu up top. However, if you look at the website on a smartphone, you’ll see an icon to expand the menu. Elements, like photos, that once were next to each other stack on top of each other as you scroll down the page, and you don’t have to “pinch to zoom” in on text that’s too small. This is a responsive website, and it’s crucial to deliver good patient experience.
According to Margin Media, 48% of Internet users say that if a business’ website is not working well on mobile, they take it as an indication of the business simply not caring.
And it’s not just for patients – it’s good business if you want your website to rank higher, too. Google and other search engines are now penalizing websites that don’t aren’t mobile-friendly with lower rankings.
Responsive design is way the world is moving now, and if you want to stay relevant, you’ve got to keep up. Investing in a website that is mobile-friendly is no longer just an option; it is vital.
Good Search Engine Rankings
Having an aesthetically pleasing website that works well on all devices and is easy to navigate is only half the battle. You have to get people’s eyeballs on your website before they can connect with your story. Knowing how to direct potential patients to your practice and not the one down the street can be a challenge, and that is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play.
There’s an old adage that says “The best place to hide a dead body is on Page 2 of Google,” and that’s really true. Now, SEO is an incredibly complicated topic – there’s just so much that goes into it that it’s hard to talk about it in just a few minutes.
In layman’s terms, good SEO prioritizes user experience above all else. It may sound weird, but Google does not care how beautiful your code is or what programming language your website is written in; search engines want to know that your information is organized in a way that their servers—and, more importantly, your users—can understand. Good SEO is an investment, and, as with any investment, it pays to be patient. As in real life, it takes time to build a good reputation online.
We’ll go into more depth about SEO in future episodes, but suffice it to say that SEO is incredibly important if you want your patients to have a good experience. If they can’t find you online, chances are, they won’t have any experience with your practice at all!
After all, the best in-person patient experience isn’t limited to just one aspect of your practice, like how nice your office is or the physician’s bedside manner…and neither is the art of online user experience. The challenge is to combine these elements into one pleasant, seamless experience that your patients will not forget.
You could nail every other piece of the patient journey, but if something rubs them the wrong way, that’s what’s going to stick out in their minds when a friend or family member asks them for a recommendation. And as we’ve seen today, this doesn’t just apply to your in-person experiences, but to your online presence, as well.
Well, that’s all for today’s episode of the Medical Marketing Podcast. Join us again next week when we talk about the most common mistakes physicians make with their practice websites. As always, we’ll have a link to the show notes in the description, and be sure to check out www.messenger.md for more resources on how to improve your practice marketing, grow revenue, and take your patient experience to the next level. See you next time.
Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.