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Building Trust Through Healthcare Website Design

Numerous healthcare organizations have increased their online presence throughout the pandemic because it gave them the ability to communicate and share information with a larger audience. In fact, global healthcare industry revenues are expected to exceed $2.6 trillion by 2025 — up from $2 trillion in 2020 — with the majority of that growth propelled by artificial intelligence and telehealth, according to consultancy Frost & Sullivan [1]. Healthcare website design trends began shaping the way providers fulfilled services and presented themselves online.

This was foreign to some internet users, who had never gone online to book appointments, refill prescriptions or see a doctor. While pre-existing patient portals were and continue to be popular, many were distrustful of this online shift in healthcare.
While this deviation in healthcare provides opportunities for growth, the general distrust in tech companies and digital tools might be standing in the way.

Distrust & Lack of Confidence in the Digital Healthcare Industry

 

There are two main factors that are contributing to the general distrust and lack of confidence in the digital healthcare industry; 1) the inequity regarding access to virtual services and 2) the generational knowledge gap in understanding technical services and websites [2]. These two factors are the most pervasive barriers to the adoption of digital healthcare.

COVID-19 underscored the inequity of access to virtual spaces across the country. Though access may be available for some, it is not accessible to every household — and even if a household does have access to the internet, everyone might not know how to use it. Older generations tend to be less tech-savvy. The U. S Department of Commerce estimates that some 31 million Americans do not have access to high-speed internet — and seniors comprise a large portion of that group [3]. As younger generations become more and more accustomed to the growth and advancement in technology, the older generations get left behind. The gap is exponential.

What Makes a Great Healthcare Website Experience?

 

Organizations should take advantage of the following popular design trends and ask themselves: what makes a good healthcare website? How do I build digital trust with my current and prospective patients? Are there healthcare website requirements that every site should have? Investing resources into the website design and digital marketing cultivates a foundation of trust between the organization and its users, regardless of their age and understanding of technology.

Effortless Website Design

The specialty of that healthcare organization should be clear immediately upon arriving at the site. If the organization is using a clean and effective healthcare website design, the user will know off the bat whether it is a Chiropractic, Dermatologist, or Pediatric organization. Icons and graphics should reflect that specialty, as well as site imagery.

Custom/Personal Images

Healthcare website imagery needs to be clearly identifiable right when a user first arrives at the homepage — and many marketers use stock images to achieve this. However, it’s important to select unique stock photos. While it’s not necessarily negative, can conjure feelings of distrust if a user identifies a stock image or actor/actress from another location. In essence, while stock photos are an inexpensive route for organizations to go regarding visual assets, if not done right, it can once again lead to distrust of the website.

Using custom and person images of staff on healthcare websites

In turn, it comes as no surprise that healthcare website designs that use personal images of their doctors and staff have a higher likelihood of increasing trust with a user. Users respond to images that represent them, so it is imperative that the website imagery reflect them. In the image above was taken from the UCFHealth website.  The still image they chose for the video shows members of their healthcare community. These minor adjustments to website imagery could be the difference between gaining or losing a new patient.

Images of Doctors, Nurses, and Staff

As mentioned, users tend to trust a healthcare organization more if there is some sense of familiarity, and they can resonate with the image. This can be achieved digitally by having a website section where users can view different members of the healthcare team, such as doctors, nurses, and staff. This is shown in the image below, taken from Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Putting names to faces gives the user peace of mind and allows them to form a personal connection with their practitioner before ever stepping foot in their office. Healthcare organizations can also personalize appointment reminders by adding a photo of the doctors or nurses that patients will see at their appointment.

Personal Image of Nurse at Front Desk on Hospital website

The healthcare digital marketing trend due to COVID-19 has been especially popular with pediatric organizations. Many offer “fun facts” about the doctors, such as their favorite color and animal. These personal touches make the website more approachable to its young audience.

Chatbots

chatbot on healthcare website

Chatbots are software with machine learning algorithms that allow them to engage in conversation and can give users access to information and resources immediately [4].

Generally, patients prefer talking with their doctor instead of communicating through chatbots. However, chatbots have become popular on healthcare websites because they save a lot of time for healthcare providers and support staff. In the image above, the TrustCare website provides its online visitors the opportunity to be assisted through a chatbot.  The automation of chatbots allows healthcare organizations to provide general information to their patients on a more personal level than, say, FAQs. In turn, a chatbot not only builds trust but also digital confidence in the healthcare organization. According to a market research report, the global healthcare chatbots market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25.1% from 2019 to reach $703.2 million by 2025 [5].

Powerful Site Search

From COVID-19 policies to safety requirements, users found themselves searching for more medical information online this year. Searching a website for a particular piece of information may seem easier for some users– but for a novice user, it can be significantly more challenging.

One way healthcare marketers can ensure that patients can quickly and confidently find the information they need is to implement a powerful site search.

Coffey Communications suggests finding a site search tool that can auto-suggest results, understand synonyms and connect services, locations, and providers [6]. This provides a positive experience for users and helps build trust in an organization’s ability to present information online.

Navigation

One of the most common issues for healthcare websites is poor navigation. Not every user is going to have the technical knowledge and confidence to search an entire website for information. This is why healthcare marketing trends emphasize the importance of having user-friendly navigation. Healthcare website menus should be built from the perspective of the medical consumer who is not familiar with the site; the menu should be organized logically, with related content grouped together under short and specific headers. Take a look at the footer navigation on the Mayo Clinic’s website.  All sections are clearly defined and placed in logical categories.

Simple healthcare website navigation

Healthcare website navigation should allow for clear access to important information. For example, many users arrive at a healthcare website to find out if their insurance covers that particular service. This information should be listed on the main navigation under the header “For Patients” or “Insurance We Accept”.

Calming Color Palette

Choosing the right color pallet is an important consideration in healthcare website design. Different colors invoke different psychological reactions, and it is important that healthcare marketers invoke the right ones. According to an analysis conducted by Marketo and Column 5, popular colors to use in the healthcare industry are purple (royalty, elegance), blue (trustworthy, secure), orange (vitality, exuberant), and white (purity, cleanliness) [7].

Testimonial Pages & Patient Success Stories

E-commerce websites use customer reviews to show other potential customers that their products and services are trustworthy. The same marketing strategy can be used on healthcare websites, particularly with organizations offering a niche specialty to patients. By utilizing patient testimonials, physicians can increase credibility on a virtual level. 94% of healthcare patients use online reviews to evaluate providers and 84% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations [8]. This marketing strategy not only builds digital credibility for the doctor but cultivates trust in the physician and organization from a prospective patient perspective.

Directions to Clinic/Parking Information

Offering users extra information can do a lot in terms of building trust. Healthcare websites that offer directions to their clinics and/or parking information illustrate to users that they are thinking one step ahead and are putting themselves in their patients’ position.

Thinking about healthcare website design strategies? Let us know, we’d love to get started!

 

Sources

[1] Frost & Sullivan – Technology Innovations and Virtual Consultations Drive the Healthcare Industry Transformation by 2025
[2] Accenture – How Can Leaders Make Recent Digital Health Gains Last?
[3] ABA – Consequences Could be Big for Seniors Without Internet During COVID-19
[4] Topflight – Medical Chatbots: The Future of the Healthcare Industry
[5] Intrado Globe Newswire – Healthcare Chatbot Market Worth $703.2 million by 2025 – Exclusive Report by Meticulous Research
[6] Coffey Communications – Give People What They Want on Your Hosptial Website
[7] Healthcare Success – The Feeling that Colors Convey in Your Marketing Message
[8] Dialogtech – 29 Statistics Healthcare Marketers Need to Know in 2021

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