Hospital Websites: Where a Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

Rutland Regional Homepage Banner

Imagery is an important part of your hospital’s marketing. It supports your branding. It tells your organizational story.

Consider your healthcare organization’s website. What story are you really telling? The cancer service line landing page displays a picture of a doctor consulting a patient in a treatment room. Does the doctor resemble any provider in your organization? How about the treatment room – is it an accurate representation of your facility? Visitors to your site take notice of these types of things.

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Telling Your Whole Brand Story: System-Wide Approach to Web Content Structure

Content Planning
It’s human nature to group like things together. At home, the coats go in the coat closet. Cars go in the garage. Milk goes in the fridge and dirty clothes go in the hamper. But when you’re in a rush, you park on the driveway, throw your coat on the couch, set the milk on the counter and leave your clothes on your bedroom floor.

Likewise, on your website everything has a home. And site visitors go where they are familiar to find information about your healthcare organization, your doctors and services, your locations… to find out about you. If you’re sloppy about your content organization, you can easily create quite a mess for your Web audience.

At Geonetric, we take careful consideration of these issues in the content strategy phase with every site we evaluate, and certainly with every site we restructure. We look deep into the organization’s structure to help guide the organization of content but, more importantly, we look at the needs of your audience and identify the gaps in the user experience.

And then we work to solve those problems. One increasingly common way we solve this problem is by providing system-wide structure for content.
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Remarketing: Somebody’s Watching Me!

Woman Holding Coffee Mug

I’ve had a lot of questions lately about remarketing (sometimes known as retargeting), a marketing technique that targets your site visitors with ads for your organization AFTER they’ve left your website. For example, I shopped for lamps last year on and then, for weeks afterwards, it seems like every site I visited presented me with ads for, many with the specific lamps I’d viewed!

You’ve probably experienced this yourself and realized that these ads are no coincidence but rather an aggressive marketing tactic by which one site follows you around the Internet with ads after a single visit.

I don’t like remarketing (so much so that I sometimes find myself writing snarky poetry about it like this). I find it to be annoying, intrusive and clumsily heavy handed. While remarketing is less intrusive when shopping for lamps – for something truly important and personal, like my health, it would be more than annoying. It would be downright creepy!

As a consumer, I don’t like remarketing and have steered clients away from the practice. But, as my friend Linda’s coffee cup reminds me on many a Monday morning, “Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.” A quick Google search shows that many healthcare organizations are using remarketing today. As a technique, remarketing works for many advertisers or it wouldn’t be gaining in popularity.
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Time to Spice Up the Ol’ Provider Directory?

Avera Doctor Profile Page

Keeping physicians happy, adhering to brand standards, and making a site user-friendly can sometimes be a balancing act. But Avera Health has accomplished all three items with its updated provider directory.

Geonetric worked with Avera Health take VitalSite’s already advanced provider profiles a step further. We gave the physician profiles a facelift adding in more interactive features such as videos and a dynamic blog feed that pulls in blog posts written by that specific doctor. The location information (including secondary locations) are clearly displayed to make it easy for visitors to find a provider in a certain area.

We also simplified the physician search results by changing the layout and indicating physicians that have a video. A print button was also added that allows users to print their search results.

Making a few changes can have a big effect! Feedback has been very positive, a win-win for users and providers!

Are you ready to dust off your provider directory and spice it up? Not sure where to start? Let us know – we’d love to help!

Keeping Online Forms Simple

Maternity Pre-Registration Form

Who actually likes to fill out a form? What if that form is five to eight pages long? Would you finish it?

Probably not.

Online forms are created to gather information from a site visitor. It can be anything from a contact us form to a pre-registration form. Getting this information should be easy and seamless. Unfortunately, a lot of hospital websites out there throw an eight page form at the potential patient. Many site visitors will not even get to the last page to submit the form and either end up calling, or worse yet, go somewhere else for the same service you provide. We don’t want this to happen to you!

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Dr. Mom Blog Engages Health Consumers

Do a little research and you’ll find a lot of reasons why your business should blog: acquire more customers, share your expertise and create a two-way conversation with your audience. When Dean, an integrated healthcare system in Madison, WI, was looking into ways to further engage its primary target audience, they turned to Geonetric to help them.

As we explored options, we could have taken a more traditional approach to this request. Instead, we found a unique solution that allowed Dean to put together a section of content that resembles a blog. Using a product called Disqus, we are able to add a commenting feature to any page the custom template is applied on. Dean wrote the content on these pages to resemble blog posts. Because the Disqus code has been added to a VitalSite template, Dean was also able to take advantage of VitalSite’s SmartPanels to cross-promote other meaningful content within these pages.

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Streamlining the Patient Experience Online

Ball in Maze

A few years ago Alicia Jansen, associate vice president at MD Anderson Cancer Center had a problem on her hands. As she explained at the SHSMD Annual Conference, potential patients were having a hard time getting that first appointment. In addition to being scared and emotional with a new cancer diagnosis, they had to jump through a lot of hoops to get something scheduled. There was a lot of back and forth as well as repeated paperwork. So Jansen decided to take on the project and make the experience better.

After analyzing the procedures and talking to the call teams, she decided to create an online experience that would make the process easier on patients and the clinics.

With the new site live and performing well, Jansen shared these keys to engaging and empowering patients online – and provided lessons learned:
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How Online Voice of the Customer (VoC) Panels are Improving the Consumer Experience

Voice of the Consumer

Using online Voice of the Customer (VoC) panels help improve consumer satisfaction by fostering collaboration with a customer through online surveys and communities to uncover sentiment, satisfaction and loyalty. As healthcare marketers we are no stranger to focusing on the entire consumer experience, not just one piece of the pie. With quite a few healthcare organizations moving towards expansive, integrated delivery networks, it’s no surprise that continually measuring consumer interactions have become increasingly important.

What stood out most to me at SHSMD’s Annual Conference was the focus on improving consumer satisfaction. The topic of how to improve the consumer experience was repeatedly incorporated into the sub-text of each conference breakout session conversation during lunch, one-on-one conversation and client dinners. Companies with consistently high customer satisfaction like, Marriot International and Southwest Airlines view great service as a continual challenge.

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IOS 7 First Impressions

ios 7 passcode screen

Apple’s much-debated mobile operating system refresh has been in our hands for a few days. While there has been a lot of commentary about the new interface, it’s come mostly from hardcore early adopter-types. I’ve been curious about how more casual users would take to the new changes, so I did a quick poll of iOS users around the office to get their thoughts and first impressions. Here’s what I heard:

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How Do Healthcare Organizations Manage Multiple Services Across Various Locations?

Locations, services and physicians, oh my! Crozer-Keystone Health System’s Brinton Lake is a comprehensive outpatient complex in Glen Mills, PA.

Since the Brinton Lake complex offers an extensive number of services at various locations, Crozer-Keystone was concerned about usability and making sure site visitors could find the providers, services, and location information they needed.
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How Does Your Website Stack Up?

surveyblogIs your hospital website ahead of your peers or are you falling behind? Are you understaffed and underbudgeted? Are your competitors push into digital marketing leaving you in the dust?

The one question I hear most often from healthcare Web professionals is “How are we doing compared to everyone else”?
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Facebook Privacy is Not Trying to Ruin Your Life

Every so often, I see a flurry of friends reposting information (on Facebook) about how Facebook has made dramatic changes engineered to compromise their security and privacy and generally drag them, kicking and screaming, towards their personal destruction. That is UNLESS you take these few simple steps…

The posts are generally some variation on the following:
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Integrated Web Content Benefits LewisGale Regional Health System Users

As more hospitals, outpatient centers and physician practices join forces to share expensive technology and gain from the knowledge and skill of experienced clinicians, the need to speak with a unified voice online becomes imperative. HCA’s Capital Division has partnered with Geonetric to meet that and other goals for its multiple facilities and websites.

Content Mash-Up

Beyond the organizational and emotional upheaval brought on by merging business cultures when hospitals and medical groups combine their efforts comes the challenge of creating a new Web presence. The new “system” website must build on the stellar reputations of the individual players while highlighting the benefits users will receive from their newfound access to resources across the entire system. Often, that means creating a new Web presence that’s a mash-up of all the existing websites – and rethinking everything about content and users in the process.

Latest HCA Capital Division Web Update

As HCA’s Capital Division continues its Web restructuring activities, the latest site to launch is LewisGale Regional Health System, the hub of its Southwest Virginia market. LewisGale incorporates four hospitals, six outpatient centers, two cancer centers and 700 physicians. While based in Salem/Roanoke, the entire service area stretches from Alleghany Highlands and Rockbridge County on the north to the Roanoke and New River Valleys on the south, a distance of more than 100 miles.

LewisGale: Integrated Message for System Services

LewisGale’s far-flung individual players recognized the need for an integrated message – one that reflects the system’s hub-and-spoke approach to delivering a wide range of sophisticated services – and they invested in a partnership with Geonetric to make that happen. We built on the awareness that the region is filled with small communities where personal relationships are key.

Because area residents are used to getting care close to home from doctors and nurses they know and trust, we knew it was crucial for the website to maintain the essence of LewisGale’s century-old, well-known brand – their highly regarded, effective and compassionate care.

New Web content developed for the site assures LewisGale’s communities and users – no matter where they live in the region or where they start in the system – of fast access to expert acute care with top quality results.


The new content also illustrates that, when needed, local providers can connect patients with specialized care or transfer them within the system while maintaining continual, two-way communication to monitor those patients, who will return for local follow-up and ongoing care close to home.

Change as Opportunity for Integrated Web Presence

As with the newly launched website for HCA Virginia in Richmond, LewisGale used the transition from individual hospitals and practices to an integrated system as the springboard for transforming their online presence.

Building on the HCA Virginia groundwork, LewisGale’s new site uses the same Capital Division look and feel to promote the power of their network, expertise and technology.


This approach also lets LewisGale highlight individual hospitals when appropriate.


Simpler Structure, Responsive Design, Better Information

LewisGale’s new website content, new site structure and new responsive design make it easy for their consumers, communities and physician practices to find information about services at the system level and follow the path to accessing the care they need close to home. The total number of pages on the site was significantly reduced while an informative presence was created for services that were previously invisible.

Learn more about the HCA Virginia website project and watch our webinar, The Content Conundrum.

How Do We Get Beyond Our Malkovich Biases?


The most common place where technological solutions go wrong is that they’re built for the person building them and not for the person who will be using them.

Where teams fail is not that they don’t intend for the solution to work for the target audience but rather an inability to recognize they are not a member of that target audience. This is not as obvious as you might think. If you’re building a website for cancer patients, the challenge is not that you believe yourself to be a cancer patient. Rather, the gap is in realizing an actual cancer patient is going to use the tool differently than you will.

This phenomenon has a name – The Malkovich Bias: The tendency to believe that everyone uses technology the same way that you do.

The name was first shared by Andres Glusman of in his blog and has, apparently, worked its way quickly into the psyche of the user experience (UX) community (you can listen to Glusman talking about the concept and UX testing in this video). The concept refers to the movie Being John Malkovich. At some point in the film, just about every character gets the opportunity to be Malkovich, but even given the same tool, they use Malkovich in entirely different ways.

We see the same thing in technology. For example, I use Twitter for content curation and to engage with others at tradeshows and conferences. I’ve been on long enough to know that others use it to crowd source their breakfast menu or as a form of very public group chat. I couldn’t imagine using it that way. Likewise, following 2,000+ people, I couldn’t imagine using the original SMS-based interface, but there are many users without SmartPhones or regular Internet access for whom Twitter is a text message-based solution today. They use these tools very differently from the way I do. Point is, if I’m planning to reach them with Twitter, the way that I use the tool doesn’t really matter.

So how do we get beyond our Malkovich biases?

  • Realize that the bias is there: First and foremost, we need to actively question our assumptions when working on a project. If you work in healthcare and spend a lot of time online there are many things that you could throw at a user which won’t make any sense to them at all.
  • NIHITO: For those of you not familiar with Lean improvement strategies, NIHITO stands for Nothing Interesting Happens In The Office. In other words, get out and spend some time with your customers/end users. And not just once, but regularly.
  • The only thing that matters is what actual users actually do: You look at a piece of technology and know exactly how it works and how you use it. You can even run tests in a usability lab to get an outside perspective. Sometimes even the best designed products can be misunderstood.
  • Iterate on innovation: We all try to check things off our to-do list and call them done. Real innovation requires risk taking, experimentation, measurement and adjustment.

Where have you found your Malkovich biases? How do you overcome them? Share your thoughts in the comments below!