Healthcare Digital Front Door Strategies | Binary Fountain

July 07, 2020

How to Improve Your Digital Front Door Strategy

By: Kayla Zamary

digital-front-doorThere are a lot of discussions these days about the Digital Front Door, and how it informs the experience hospitals and health systems offer to healthcare consumers. According to the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Marketing Development, 77% of consumers search online before booking an appointment, making every healthcare organizations’ web presence critical for attracting and maintaining patients.

We will cover what a comprehensive digital strategy looks like for healthcare systems and what steps your organization needs to take.

A Consumer Optimized Website: Your Digital Front Door

Consumers want the same online experience with healthcare companies that they value in non-healthcare settings. Therefore, visitors who arrive at your digital front door, or your website, expect convenience, ease of use, and accessibility.

For example, visitors want to quickly find answers and solutions to their questions and problems. Many will not “search harder” if they can’t easily find the answers on your website, they’ll simply search elsewhere. As a result, you’ll miss an opportunity to connect and engage.

Dedication to putting users first is what separates the largest and most successful online retailers from the pack. From easy-to-use navigation to one-tap contact options, users care more about functionality than artistic design.

For example, visitors want to quickly find answers and solutions to their questions and problems. Many will not “search harder” if they can’t easily find the answers on your website, they’ll simply search elsewhere. As a result, you’ll miss an opportunity to connect and engage.

Dedication to putting users first is what separates the largest and most successful online retailers from the pack. From easy to use navigation menus to one-tap contact options, users care more about functionality than artistic design.

Easy Site Navigation

Intuitive site navigation is the backbone of a successful digital front door. If consumers struggle to navigate your website, they’ll navigate to a competitor. Your digital front door must direct visitor traffic to the appropriate healthcare services and care options.

To start, organize your pages into categories with standard terms in the words your users would understand. Rename pages and menu tabs to make their meaning clear. For example, if you have an “About Us” section, don’t name it “Meet our Team.” You must always consider how patients will interact with your navigation.

Embedding click-to-call capabilities in your healthcare system’s websites is a must. Being forced to copy your phone number and then paste it in a sperate phone dial menu creates unnecessary friction. The same is true for directions. It’s the little things that add up to superior patient experience and a strong digital front door.

If you do not offer online scheduling for appointments, invest in the technology you need to make it happen. Your patients and bottom line will thank you.

Embrace SEO Strategy

While consumers depend on clear site navigation, online search engines depend on keywords and other indicators to direct their search engine traffic.

SEO Keywords help search engines “understand” the content of each of your webpages. If a user searches for “kidney stone” Google will primarily direct them to webpages that repeatedly mention kidney stones. Note that sites mentioning “nephrolithiasis” but not explicitly “kidney stone” will likely not appear in this search’s results.

Use keywords on all of your webpages, as well as your content marketing and physician profiles, to make your digital front door visible to search engines. There are several free online tools that can help you do this.

Backlinks, SEO Titles, and meta descriptions are also digital tools you can use to rank higher in search engines.

Build Trust Through Content

Healthcare consumers are using the internet to research medical information before setting foot in an exam room. Explain why your practice facility should be the first choice for the patient. Binary Fountain found a 167% increase in consumers concerned with their healthcare providers’ reputation from 2017 to 2019. Healthcare consumers want to know they are going to a trusted provider with a trustworthy history.

If your facility has won awards or if you have patient testimonials, proudly display them. Patients choose medical facilities they feel like they can trust for exceptional care. Similarly, post your star ratings from surveys.

Remember to post your content on a variety of platforms, and experiment with different content types on each platform. Edit and update older content, but also make room for new developments. Google and other search engines pick this content up and rank sites more highly that feed them fresh and unique content.

Don’t Just Focus on the Homepage

The digital front door for your facility is more than just the hospital home page and search window. Dayton Children’s Hospital, for example, identifies some 80 ‘microments’ in the consumer healthcare journey, progressing from discovery to exploration to evaluation to engagement and experience.

This analysis brings Nurse Chat, ED, and Urgent Care check-ins and patient portal into their front door strategy. It also includes social media, star ratings, and local listings.

Build Optimized Provider Pages

Provider pages are great opportunities to showcase your doctors and build trust. Taking steps to optimize your profiles ensure you and your patients get the most of these online listings.

Some things to include in your provider pages:

  • Provider ratings
  • A quick bio (consider a video bio)
  • Offices
  • Specialties or areas of interest
  • Accepted insurances
  • Ability to schedule an appointment
  • Schema markup

If you aren’t leveraging Schema on your provider profile pages, they may not appear in search results. Schema is a certain kind of tag that helps search engines like Google organize data and accurately display it for users.

Schema tagging your provider pages will ensure search engines have the right information to prioritize your pages in their search results. As a result, it increases the chances people will find your provider pages. You can find out more about Schema markup here.

Including online patient reviews on your provider pages could also build your site traffic. These reviews are a top source of information patients use to choose providers. Many are specifically looking for reviews online. Including reviews on your website can help bring patients into your website, and this traffic should raise your SEO rankings. They also build trust by showing healthcare consumers the “entire picture.”

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About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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