The term “patient-centric” is getting a lot of use these days. But it’s always been more than just a buzzword at Geonetric. Over the last 10 years, we’ve spent a lot of time helping hospitals build websites that focus on making the online experience as valuable as possible for their site visitors.
We first began speaking on the value of building “patient-centric” websites five years ago – and even since then, the words “patient-centric” have taken on new meaning. And they won’t mean the same thing five years from now.
Why this focus on patient-centricity? First of all, health information seekers have increasingly high expectations of the Web. As a result, healthcare websites are evolving. No longer are patients satisfied with pages of static content. Now they expect the ability to interact with providers and with other patients in personalized and meaningful ways. Second of all, health seekers are searching not only for information to manage their own health; the likelihood is that the site visitor is searching for information for aging parents, young children, or a spouse. So the site needs to be robust, easy to use, logically organized, relevant, and interactive. That’s a lot to ask!
There are a number of tools we employ in these efforts. Each year, we conduct primary research that helps us understand the direction and goals of hospitals’ online efforts. We also perform research to find out how patients use the Web and what their expectations are for connecting with their health providers online. Plus, we study how the online world is evolving and what it means for healthcare. For instance, social media – not even on the radar for most marketers five years ago – is an increasingly important way to connect with patients today.
If you’re interested in learning more, we offer a couple of options. Ben Dillon, our vice president & eHealth evangelist, has published an article on the topic in the July/August issue of Spectrum, the newsletter from SHSMD. Ben will also be presenting “The Patient-Centric Web: Then and Now” at the SHSMD Annual Conference next week. His co-presenter is Ken Croken, vice president of corporate communications and marketing at Genesis Health System , a long-time client of Geonetric. Their look at the evolution of health websites promises to be informative and engaging.
Both the article and the SHSMD presentation will present our views on patient-centricity – what it meant yesterday, what it means today, and what it will mean tomorrow. As the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Whether it’s social media’s influence or adding new access points to comply with healthcare reform – the goal is always to keep the patient in focus.