Digital Front Door Webinar

May 22, 2018

What’s Your Hospital’s Digital Front Door Strategy

By: John McFeely

There’s a lot of discussion these days about the Digital Front Door, and how it informs the experience hospitals and medical practices offer healthcare consumers.

As you consider ways to improve online patient experience, here are a few big factors to consider:

Consumers want the same experience with healthcare companies that they value in non-healthcare settings

When they arrive at your digital front door, visitors expect convenience, ease of use and accessibility on a par with the best. That doesn’t mean merely being better than your healthcare competition. Consumer expectations for online experience and engagement are now set and constantly raised by mega-retailers like Amazon, as well as banks and other service related industries. As marketers we might focus on the things that differentiate healthcare from leading online and big box commerce sites.  Your visitors care much less about those differences – if they can’t quickly see a path to the answers they seek, you have missed an opportunity to connect and engage.
Wanted: Convenience, Clarity and Usability

Just as hospitals are adopting wayfinding solutions to help  people navigate their maze of hallways, hospital web sites need to adapt to healthcare consumers seeking information. Your digital front door must welcome the visitor. Whether finding the right provider for their medical issue, getting hold of test results, or paying a bill, it’s imperative to help them find what they need quickly.

It’s not just the homepage

The Digital Front Door 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, along with social media, star ratings and local listings.

Designing a Digital Front Door Strategy

Fairview Health Services of Minneapolis identified critical thresholds along the path to purchase, and considered the impact of influencers from physicians to family members to physical location. The next step was to audit and improve touchpoints around the digital front door, including provider profiles, location directories, and online appointment scheduling, among others. These have a measurable impact on top patient experience priorities like researching, choosing and making an appointment with the right doctor for the patient’s medical need.

Take one bite at a time

Where budget or staffing won’t support a top-to-bottom remodel of your digital front door, it might make sense to carve out a piece of the strategy to concentrate on. Madison, Wisconsin-based Unity Point Health, which operates in 10 cities in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois, decided a top priority for 2018 is connecting consumers with available providers. UnityPoint leveraged PPC, serving up doctors located nearby the prospective patient who started the search. To provide the immediacy and trust that patients demand, the campaign promotes providers who offer 5-day new patient access, and have a star rating of 4 or higher.

Listen to the webinar

For much more on the digital front door, check out the SHSMD hosted webinar called Defining the New Digital Front Door. You’ll get insight on top-of-the-funnel consumer entry paths like organic and paid search, local listings, and third-party reviews, plus advice on avoiding common pitfalls. Also covered are the very important metrics you need to help measure the progress of your program.

Introduced by Binary Fountain’s own Aaron Clifford, three panelists offer great ideas and real world experience in improving patient engagement:

Chris Boyer, host of the Touchpoint Podcast and
Director, Digital Strategy and Analytics
Fairview Health Services

Blake Long
Director, Marketing Technology and Strategy
UnityPoint Health

Grace Jones
Consumer Brand Manager
Dayton Children’s Hospital

About the Author

John McFeely
Sales Director

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