Survey results: healthcare providers’ websites need a checkup

A recent study of patients has revealed attitudes toward their healthcare providers’ web presence, and the results are clear: take a pill and call us in the morning.

The survey—Kentico Software’s “Patient Attitudes Toward Healthcare on the Web”— claims that 71% of the 512 Internet users polled believe that their healthcare providers’ websites need work, according to the article in DM News. Other key findings:

  • 84% of that 71% complain about not being able to reach their healthcare professionals via their preferred channel
  • Another 84% report having trouble finding the information that they’re looking for
  • Half of all respondents experience frustration reaching an online healthcare rep in real time
  • 51% of respondents select their provider based on its website
  • 69% rely on online reviews
  • One quarter of Web users consider online reviews “very important”
  • Interestingly, 79% of respondents don’t think it’s important for healthcare professionals to have a social media presence
  • 74% consider emails or texts for appointment reminders valuable
  • 42% give their provider a B for their online tools
  • 34% say they can’t even reach providers via email

Now to the good news: healthcare providers have come a long way in a short time in terms of using online tools to communicate with patients. There’s appreciation of healthcare’s embrace of the Web, but it’s tempered by an impatience for more options, especially those connected to mobile devices.

Also interesting is the list of preferred communication methods, ranked:

  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Texting/SMS
  • Chat/Instant Message
  • Postal mail
  • Fax
  • Video chat
  • Social network

The study ranks the importance of functionality on a website:

  • Ease of contact via a number of contact methods
  • Ease of finding information and getting questions answered
  • Healthcare professional biographies
  • Pleasant-looking and easy-to-navigate site
  • Photos of healthcare professionals
  • Blog that discusses healthy living, such as dieting, how to stop smoking, avoiding the flu, etc.

Overall, amidst all the Obamacare upheaval and old-school paperwork glut apparent in many doctors’ offices, it’s clear that patients are demanding direct marketing connectivity and digital capabilities available in other commoditized industries, especially retail.

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Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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