We got a little excited over the article “Patient Outreach Starts Earlier Than You Think” written by Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media. Using her own experience as a three-time visitor to a local hospital she calls “Boston Hospital,” Marianne recounts the random, and at first, innocuous encounters with the facility’s appearance, the people that work there, the chair in her brother’s room and the café. Again, she wasn’t a patient, she was a visitor, and each encounter left her “indifferent” about her impression of the hospital. She speculates that perhaps receiving a direct mail piece from the facility would make her impression of the hospital more favorable. If the facility, however, had paid more attention to the details, Marianne could have left feeling like she’d definitely choose Boston Hospital when, and if, she did become a patient.
Take Time to Tend Your Hospital Website
While your health care organization’s website doesn’t sell gourmet coffee and you can’t hear or see any construction activity when a new banner ad goes up, your website can also leave visitors feeling indifferent about your hospital.
What are some of the things can make someone indifferent about your website?
- Making it hard to find basic information like phone numbers, directions, visiting hours, etc., is like bad signage within a hospital.
- Broken links are like out of order elevators–a total hassle.
- Lack of information that requires additional follow up via a phone call or an email is like an untrained staff person working at the information desk.
- Music and flashy graphics which are just plain annoying. (Chances are people aren’t logging on to your site to be entertained.)
- Spelling errors or typos remind us of litter in the parking lot or abandoned snack wrappers in the waiting room–just messy and only take moments to clean up.
- The use of acronyms that aren’t spelled out and clinical information that isn’t explained in “every day” language can intimidate and give people a reason to jump ship and find another website that makes sense to them.
You just never know how or why someone will encounter your website, so make an effort to make a good first, second, third impression!