Healthcare Providers’ Websites Are Under the Weather

It looks like healthcare providers’ websites are in need of a checkup. 

According to Kentico Software’s “Patient Attitudes Toward Healthcare on the Web” survey, 71% of the 512 Internet users polled say that healthcare providers’ websites could be more helpful. Of this sample, 84% cite not being able to reach their healthcare professionals via their preferred channel as a top issue. Another 84% list struggling to find the information that they’re looking for as their main gripe, and half of all respondents are frustrated with not being able to speak to an online healthcare rep in real time.

“Using the Web to communicate in regulated industries such as healthcare is challenging to say the least, but healthcare providers seem to have made significant strides over the years in using the Web to connect with patients in meaningful ways,” says Kentico CEO and Founder Petr Palas. “Overall, patients seem to appreciate healthcare’s embrace of the Web, though it’s also clear they want provider websites to offer up a fuller range of communication choices—specifically when it comes to mobile texting and real-time chat, as well as easier access through mobile devices.”

The Web content and customer experience management provider also found that 51% of respondents select their provider based on its website at least part of the time. What’s more, 69% rely regularly on online reviews, and a quarter of Web users consider online reviews “very important.”

Contrary to just about every other profession, 79% of respondents don’t think it’s important for healthcare professionals to have a social media presence. However, 74% consider emails or texts, like appointment reminders, valuable.

Mobile matters

When asked how they would grade healthcare providers’ embracement of the Web, 42% dole out a B. However, when asked about their use of mobile to connect with patients, respondents issue a C. Indeed, 40% express some difficulty in accessing and navigating healthcare-related sites via a mobile device, and another 41% say they just prefer to visit healthcare sites on a desktop computer regardless.

And although patients rank mobile texting as the third most preferred communication method with healthcare professionals (falling behind phone and email), only 11% say they’re able to communicate with providers this way. In fact, 34% say they can’t even reach providers via email. Here, the complete list of preferred ways to communicate:

  1. Telephone
  2. Email
  3. Texting/SMS
  4. Chat/Instant Message
  5. Postal mail
  6. Fax
  7. Video chat
  8. Social network

The complete wish list of website features, as ranked by patients, is as follows:

  1. Ease of contact via a number of contact methods
  2. Ease of finding information and getting questions answered
  3. Healthcare professional biographies
  4. Pleasant-looking and easy-to-navigate site
  5. Photos of healthcare professionals
  6. Blog that discusses healthy living, such as dieting, how to stop smoking, avoiding the flu, etc.
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