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Customer Experience and Design

5 Important Provider Directory Considerations

I’ve had the great fortune of working on a number of public websites for healthcare providers this year. I’ve noticed a recurring trend. Beyond traffic derived from those patients attempting to connect with the patient portal, the provider directory tool is the most oft visited locale on a provider website. Many healthcare organizations are responding by promoting their Find a Provider tool prominently. In fact, many healthcare organizations are now optimizing their Find a Provider directory page to surface in organic search results as opposed to the organization’s homepage.

Want to Provider Directory tool that delivers? A few easy considerations will make your Find a Provider tool a great asset to your website outreach program.

Make it Personal: Look at the provider bios of most healthcare sites and you will typically find a scant amount of data. Provider name, title, specialty, and medical school are oftentimes the only information provided to patients looking for more. This represents a big miss in the area of patient engagement. Giving the provider bio a personal touch goes a long way. Let your patients and prospective patients get to know your providers by including pictures, videos, and personal information alongside clinical information. For example, in addition to providing a physician’s medical interests, a healthcare organization can also provide personal interests to humanize the healthcare experience. I also recommend that each provider write a short three sentence introduction directed at patients that includes why they chose to practice medicine.

Give Patients the Data that Matters: When working on public facing websites, or patient/member portals, we spend a great deal of time interviewing patients about what is meaningful to them. One interesting insight is that while many healthcare organizations offer information related to medical schools and residencies, patients are most often looking for the number of times a particular physician has completed a certain procedure. Integrating this data with the Provider Directory tool is extra work, but it is well worth the effort for an organization trying to create a competitive advantage.

Don’t Make the Patient Guess: Ever try to find a provider using a health insurance plan site only to be asked what plan you are on among a selection of 20? I have, and I guess at my own risk. Why make the patient guess when you can ask them questions in the Find a Provider tool directory that can help answer that question for them?

Include a Prompt for Accepting New Patients: There is nothing more frustrating to a patient than being rejected after investing much time hovering over a provider tool by a receptionist that informs them that this provider is no longer accepting new patients. It’s very easy to provide an “Accepting New Patients” query in the search tool. You can also add “Accepting Child Patients” and “Accepting Medicare/Medicaid”.

Tie Providers to Location: When you ask patients what information is most relevant to them when selecting a provider, you will learn that it is highly tied to location. Oftentimes they will pick a location close to work or home before they pick a physician. Make it easy for patients to find the right fit by integrating your Find a Clinic Location with the Find a Doctor tool.

Anything else you would want to see in a Provider Directory? Put your comments below.

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Melody Smith Jones

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