If you work with a hospital or health system, the most important section of your website is likely the provider directory. In fact, in an unofficial ranking of 50 of Perficient’s recent hospital website implementations, we found that, aside from the homepage, the provider directory is the most visited section and one of the most influential for driving new patient acquisition.
So how can you make sure your providers are providing a meaningful and engaging experience before a patient even steps into an office? Below, we’ll discuss tips to create an experience that drive conversions…and connections.
Who’s making decisions in provider searches?
When we’re shopping for something new, be it a new car or a new healthcare provider, we’re engaging both sides of our brain. What we colloquially call “right-brain” and “left-brain” functions work together to process information, make decisions, and create connections.
In short, the left brain is the more analytical half, dealing in logic, language, and recognition of numbers; the right is the creative counterpart, specializing in emotion, imagination, and intuition. Together, they make a great team. And when we think about what patients are doing when they are looking for a new healthcare provider, we can see both side of the brain step up.
Let’s think about what patients are really looking for when they click on a provider profile. Often, they are interested in:
- Learning about the provider’s education and experience (left-brain)
- Learning about them as a person, and seeing if they can feel a connection (right-brain)
- Understanding where the provider is located and how easy it will be to get an appointment (left-brain)
- Trying to get a feel for what kind of experience they will have as a patient (right-brain)
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That’s quite a mix of left- and right-brain action, so it’s essential to feed both sides of the brain when creating a profile that will speak to patients in a holistic way.
Create a balanced provider profile
While we are barely scratching the surface of brain science here, this is enough to tell us that we need to balance some logical proof points with a good dose of empathy when crafting provider profiles.
For example, we can support the left-brain processes with:
- Quick facts (e.g., locations, specialties, hours, years of service)
- Educational profile
- Insurances accepted
- Research and papers contributed
- Ratings (in fact, a recent survey reported that 90% of patients report using online reviews to aid in their provider search)
For right-brain processes, we can include:
- Quote or story (for example, ”why I got into medicine” or ”my philosophy on patient care”)
- First-person biography
- Photo (bonus points for short videos to help patients hear first-hand from their new provider)
- Hobbies or family life outside of the office
- Linking to blog posts or articles by the provider can also help the patient to hear the voice of the provider before they’ve even met
Together, these types of content give patients a fuller picture of the provider and can go a long way in helping them to decide to make that appointment.
Help users take the next step after a provider search
Now that you’ve got their attention, make it easy for patients to take the next step and set up an appointment.
- Include self-service capabilities like online appointment scheduling to capitalize on the interest built by the profile.
- When online scheduling isn’t available, using a ”Request an appointment” form is a great alternative, especially for busy patients who may put off making a call.
- Next-available-appointment widgets are also helpful for patients to see when they can get in to see their new provider.
- Linking to forms or information that helps patients prepare for the appointment is also helpful in capitalizing on the momentum you’ve built — and will make for an easier check-in experience when the appointment rolls around.
Provider profiles are the first impression – make them count!
Finding a new provider can be a challenging enterprise, and patients don’t know how well their research paid off until they meet the provider face to face, but a well-crafted provider profile can take much of that guesswork away. By speaking to the logical and emotional sides of your patient’s decision-making, you can help providers start to forge a strong connection in a virtual way.
Our Digital Healthcare Strategy team helps healthcare and life sciences organizations better understand their audiences and create memorable digital experiences. Contact us today for more information.