Healthcare Patient Engagement 2023 Trends and How to Apply Them
Better patient engagement comes with value-add patient experiences, such as easy access to information, timely appointments, and high-quality communication with healthcare providers.
In the past few years, the digitization of healthcare services has progressed tremendously. Both healthcare providers and patients realized that there might not be a need to see the doctor every time face to face, but to conduct business from the comfort of their own homes. This almost sudden shift to telehealthcare revealed one too many holes in patient care, especially with increasing mobile usage which has also impacted the level of communication and patterns. With these changes, healthcare providers and partners must approach the “business of care” from a more modern lens and embrace the era of instant communication. The questionable need for constant in-person visits might be at the forefront of this digital shift.
Healthcare professionals and marketers in the healthcare industry know more about the state of healthcare than anyone else. One of the obvious truths is that the way healthcare communicates and navigates patient relationships significantly changed when COVID-19 and shelter-in-place mandates were created.
As overused as the word pivot is, the state of digital marketing goes well beyond corporations and eCommerce.The healthcare industry’s ability to pivot might be under the microscope. With more people using mobile technology, extraordinary measures must be taken to ensure that one of the most impacted public sectors understands what is at stake and implement the necessary steps to pivot. A digital presence in healthcare isn’t new, however, there are many entities that lag due to poor-performing websites with outdated information, limited search capabilities, SEO, and poor user experience.
What We Will Cover
In this post, we will cover some of the many emerging changes to healthcare marketing, particularly digital presence. We will cover the tips on how to ensure that your healthcare website meets certain industry standards, connects with your audience, and provides the user experience patients are expecting in 2023 and beyond.
Here are some questions for healthcare providers and marketers:
- Do you feel like you are chasing your tail, working hard but still get low to no traffic?
- Do you believe consumers/patients can benefit from a seamless experience when navigating your online healthcare systems?
- As a provider and potential consumer what areas are key to this change?
There is far more information available now or so we might want to believe. People make decisions about their health and well-being using the great internet. But can they find you? More importantly, will they engage beyond the home page?
What Is Consumer Engagement in Healthcare?
Consumer engagement might go by different names across the industry. Healthcare consumers are demanding more from their providers, especially because they are growing increasingly aware of the cost of healthcare, leading to greater advocacy and involvement in their care. According to findings from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions 2015 Survey of US Health Care Consumers there is evidence that consumer engagement is trending upward in three important areas: partnering with providers, tapping online resources, and relying on technology. The 2020 study revealed even more obvious changes since the beginning of the pandemic. Highlighting the growing reliance on digital technologies and patient care.
Let’s define “engagement”, according to PubMed, “the concept of “engagement,” refers to the role of patients and how he/she approaches the healthcare system in its complexity…” Citing Graffina et al, (2016), they added that “patient engagement may be defined as an umbrella term that qualifies the systemic relation that occurs between the demand and the supply of healthcare, at different levels and in different situations. If considered according to this meaning, patient engagement overarches the other terms more traditionally used to denote the active role of patients in their care such as patient adherence, patient compliance, patient involvement, patient participation, and patient activation.”
What About the Important Areas?
Partnering with providers: Many consumers are seeking active involvement in their care. To that end, they are not just leaving the entire process up to medical professionals. Patients are asking more questions and becoming more aware of what is involved in their treatment plans. This involvement is an encouragement for healthcare providers to have more information and resources readily available to patients, especially outside of appointments.
Tapping into online resources: The increasing number of mobile customers across the board is a dead giveaway. To reach potential and current consumers, healthcare providers must adjust their online presence to keep up with the change in the digital climate. As such, upgrading websites and other resources can prove beneficial to increasing or addressing the consumer engagement issue.
Relying on technology: Technological advancements stretch well beyond websites. Mobile applications, and other forms of user engagement, allow for a better user experience when making appointments or even contacting a healthcare provider without having to wait weeks or months for an in-person visit. Healthcare providers should lean on technology to not only increase their consumer engagement but improve retention as well.
As we are aware, COVID-19 didn’t leave. It is now part of the tapestry of our health. Like that unwanted guest who would never get the picture. There is so much happening in the life science world than we could ever imagine, but there are some important things to draw from this pesky virus. Or anything else that might show up on our radar. There needs to be a better connection between healthcare providers and patients/consumers. Old websites and portals simply do not meet the needs of the growing population. Things just need to work. While technology has its downfalls, most issues are quickly resolved, and consumers are more aware of these glitches than before.
What Are the Numbers Saying?
To inform that process, you also need to understand some numbers.Invova.com relayed that many healthcare customers start their journey online, then graduate to a phone call, then maybe an appointment. They noted that at least 5% of all Google searches are health-related and that patients who booked appointments ran 3 times more searches than those who didn’t.In addition, 95% of patients complete online evaluations with about 84% relying on those same evaluations with an unfortunate 81% dissatisfied patient review. On the other side, more advertising dollars are going into healthcare with the average cost of a healthcare lead tipping at $286. But there is also a higher expectation of customer experience.65% of consumers have cut ties with a provider due to poor customer service.
Healthcare Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
As a healthcare provider or marketer, paying attention to the trends is just as important. Reaching your intended audience should be driven by a new strategy or at least a revision. Here is a list of healthcare marketing mistakes you should avoid making.
- Lacking Overall Strategy
- Failing to Identify the Ideal Customer
- Neglecting the Website
- Overlooking Customer Distrust
- Not Leveraging Social Proof
- Overvaluing Outbound Marketing
- Failing to Monitor Campaign Effectiveness
The healthcare industry is evolving and while there is the need to keep up with marketing trends and projections, healthcare providers and marketing professionals must keep their target audience in mind.
Tips To Improve Your Healthcare Website
A user-centric healthcare website design focuses on web design techniques meant to deliver an enhanced user experience to users looking for healthcare products or services. An effective healthcare website design strategy incorporates mobile responsiveness, and marketing goals, and complies with HIPAA and ADA regulations. So, how can your website improve your level of service?
Incorporate Data Visualization
Data visualization is the graphical representation of information and data. Increasing consumer engagement requires that pertinent information is somewhat easy to understand. Incorporating data visualization into your website design allows for your content to be easily digestible.
Provide Actionable Insights Patients Can Clearly Understand
Clarity is key. With each section, clearly, state what you want them to do and why? Avoid medical terminologies that require dictionaries or a google search. Bear in mind that you want to give patients as much information as required to aid in their decision-making process.
Create a Simple but Robust Search Functionality
You want to avoid creating digital chaos. Nothing is more frustrating than looking for information and there is no clear way to find it. We are used to fast google searches and prompt results. Tap into that simplicity. Make sure your search bar is clearly identifiable. When results are populated, ensure that connections to other departments or resources are also clear. Also, showing the path to the results/departments can become useful for later searches.
Ensure Adherence to ADA and HIPPA Compliance
Website users are not limited to able-bodied individuals. Designers and marketers must take into consideration accessibility as it relates to the visually, hearing, and motor impaired. Although the ADA guidelines applied almost exclusively to rules and regulations regarding public access to buildings, public areas, public transit, etc., it took a step further in 2010 to issue a set of rules and regulations about website accessibility. Healthcare websites should at least adhere to these rules and regulations since individuals living with disabilities are some of their most vulnerable consumers. Non-compliance opens organizations to lawsuits but also a bad taste in the eyes of consumers when it comes to discrimination. By following the Web Accessibility Content Guidelines and 508 standards for website compliance you can protect your interests but also ensure that your consumers are being properly served.
Have An Intuitive Navigation Structure
Navigation is one of the most important areas involved in creating an exceptional user experience. Your healthcare website must make sense and follow a logical order.Adobe wrote that without a good navigation system in place, users will struggle whenever they interact with a website. That’s why all websites should be designed in a way that allows users to both navigate easily and find what they are looking for through searching and browsing.
Make It Mobile-friendly
Did you know that Google penalizes your website for not being mobile-friendly? This usually happens to outdated websites which is why Increasing mobile browsing is something that should be factored into your website design. Your SEO rank is at risk, putting your potential to reach new consumers in jeopardy. What would be the point of having a website that doesn’t cater to more than 50% of the global population? According to statistica, at the end of the second quarter of 2023, mobile devices generated more than 58.99% of the global website traffic.
Elevate Your Visual Assets
First impressions last. We could end there but putting your best foot forward enhancing your user experience by always thinking about how you want your visitors to feel they land on your website. Using quality photos and videos to convey your brand message is an important part of your website redesign.
Have A Design Strategy Around Longform Content
People take health information seriously. Healthcare content should provide more than the average soundbites.Make room to create and share informative content but ensure that it is still relatable to the everyday joe.Break it down into sections, clearly define terminologies, and make sure relevant sources are linked. Longform content establishes your authority and builds trust with your audience.
Make Reviews and Testimonials Prominent
Consumers love to hear what other people are saying.Reviews drive the online decision process. Testimonials are a great way to demonstrate your service and position in the industry.
Taking the Best Next Step
Every healthcare website has room for improvement.Where does your website and marketing stand? Can you safely say you have all this covered? There is work to be done.
Here’s the next step.
If you identified one or more issues that require some looking at or an upgrade, set up a 15-minute consultation with us. Before our call, download The CMO Guide To Website Redesign. You might find that information a good way to start the decision-making process.