Did you know that most prospective patients will look up a health care provider’s website before making an appointment – if they can easily find it with a quick web search, that is? Even if they do find your site, however, most visitors will leave without scheduling a visit. For providers who have just 10 website visitors a day, that can translate to a daily loss of up to $34,000 in annual patient revenue, according to research on hospital websites by online scheduling company InQuicken.

Why are 90 percent of consumers leaving provider websites unsatisfied, and what can your practice do to improve your web presence and convert these people into patients?

Three reasons why patients are dissatisfied with provider websites

The data shows that an increasing number of health care consumers have high expectations regarding convenience and access to doctors. The reasons why prospective patients will leave a provider’s website and go somewhere else without making an appointment include:

  • competition from other provider websites
  • confusion when navigating your website
  • dissatisfaction with your website’s offerings

 

Let’s look at each of these individually.

1. Competition.

The study on hospital websites found that 8 out of 10 prospective patients will visit a hospital’s website before converting; five of them will visit one or more competitor websites and be lured away. So practices need to first make sure that their websites are ranking well in search results, especially compared to their competitors. Is your content timely and frequently updated? Does your site include a blog and video? These types of content have been proven to boost search rankings.

Studies have shown that 76 percent of consumers use search engines to find local businesses. Since Google is by far the most-used search engine, you better your chances of coming up at the top of search results by taking the time to set up Google My Business (formerly Google Places) and optimizing your profile. (This simple tutorial walks you through the steps, and Google answers frequently asked questions here.)

The information you provide about your practice can appear on Google Search, Maps, and Google+, making it easy for people to find information about your practice online, including hours, contact information, directions, and a link to your web site.

2. Confusion.

A 2012 article in the Journal of Healthcare Management  found that generally, hospital and health system websites could be more effective from an end-user’s perspective. In particular, these sites were found lacking in their accessibility to users of varying literacy levels.

Most health information is written at or above a 10th-grade reading level, yet nearly half of U.S. adults have trouble understanding and acting on information that is written above an 8th-grade level. And only 12 percent have proficient health literacy, according to the U.S. Department for Health & Human Services.

Make sure that your website content is easy to read and understand, and also that your site is easy to navigate. Test it out with an informal focus group of people of different ages and computer proficiency.

3. Dissatisfaction.

People are not going to stick around on websites that don’t offer them anything. Are you providing informative, engaging content on your site? Are you giving patients something to do, watch, or download? Health apps are more popular than ever, and it’s easy to add widgets, quizzes, or interactive tools to your website. The National Institutes of Health provides a huge database of Health Check Tools you can offer to patients on your site. Cloud-based patient education programs can also provide you with an easy and affordable way to enhance your website with high-quality content people can’t find elsewhere, like procedure videos and medical animations.

Online scheduling is another big attraction for patients. If you can schedule a haircut online, why not a doctor’s appointment? Offering patients this option is easier than you might think. Services like ZocDoc allow practices to offer selected appointment times on their own website through a widget, as well as on the ZocDoc site. While this is convenient for existing patients, online scheduling is also a great way to attract new patients. According to ZocDoc, about 85 percent of the appointments made on its site are from new patients.

With a few simple steps and the right tools, you’ll be well on your way to improving your website’s visibility, value, and ultimately, profitability.

For more information about our internet-based program that can improve your practice’s patient education and marketing efforts, sign up for a free two-week trial today.