1. Healthcare websites that don’t have any patient-specific content.
In today’s healthcare business you can’t afford to ignore patients. With healthcare reform changes, patients are key stakeholders because of their growing influence on healthcare purchasing decisions.
How to Fix It:
Put a tab in your main navigation that is dedicated to patients and provide information that is relevant and easy-to-understand for new and returning visitors of your website.
2. Healthcare websites that don’t give clear direction to patient-specific content.
You have patient-specific information on your website, but you’re either not telling patients where it is, it’s buried somewhere, or there’s not clear direction about where to find it.
People want to find what they’re looking for and they want it fast. No one wants to dig around. People get frustrated when they don’t find what they want fast, and when it’s a matter of health, this is even more upsetting. Show patients you care about their wellbeing and quality of life by at least making it easy for them to find the information they need. Again, have patient information in the main navigation and design an easy-to-use user interface (UI) so that patients can easily find the right information quickly and easily.
3. Healthcare websites that don’t explain how a product works for a patient.
It’s not very clear how the product benefits a patient.
You need to do more than just provide information about your product. You need to translate your product or service features and capabilities into information that is easy-to-understand and makes sense to the average patient. Patients don’t get medical degrees (most of the time), so you need to be able to parlay how your product or service benefits patients in terms that make sense to them. Think benefits instead of engineering technology or chemistry.
4. Healthcare websites with copy that uses jargon and acronyms.
By using jargon you risk alienating your audience who may not be familiar with particular terminology that may seem commonplace to you.
Leave out the jargon and acronyms that make it so patients have no idea what you’re talking about. As a scientific or medical professional, the jargon and acronyms may sound legitimate and authoritative to you, but for patients, they can send them running for the hills. No one wants to feel unintelligent or out-of-the-loop, and jargon and acronyms can do this in a split-second. Putting the effort into approachable and easy-to-understand terminology pays off, as it is not only more effective for communicating your message, but it also shows that you care about and understand the needs of the patient. Alienating medical jargon on your website conveys that you only care about your product in the eyes of peers of and investors.
5. Healthcare websites that only provide patient information in PDFs.
There’s a patient section of the website, but it’s just a compilation of PDF documents.
PDFs are better than nothing, but it’s certainly not sufficient for patient communications. Work with your web development team to build out patient-specific content. People shouldn’t have to open up individual PDF documents (that are probably outdated anyway, be honest with yourself) just to understand the basics of your product. Plus, PDFs restrict the kind of content you can deliver. This means you’re missing out on interactive elements, video, and more.
6. Healthcare marketing information that relies too much on text and doesn’t use compelling visuals.
The patient information on your website is just one big block of text (or more).
People learn in a variety of ways, and slapping a ton of text onto a page isn’t the ideal way to communicate technical or complicated information about a healthcare product or service. Often times a healthcare video, graphic, or infographic can be much more effective at distilling key information and presenting it in a way that is easy to digest. Someone with a medical condition is probably already feeling anxious and apprehensive, and putting an intimidating block of text in between them and treatment isn’t a particularly conscientious or empathetic way to help someone.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.