Here is what 6 healthcare leaders say content teams should be doing this month — and all year long.
Key Post Highlights
> If you don’t know who you’re creating content for… why are you creating content?
> A social media strategy can define your voice and tone.
> Without a clear social media strategy, it’s hard to know what your goals are.
Great — post over!
Wait, I’ve just been informed that this cannot be “post over.” It’s “not good for SEO” and “barely answers the question.”
In all seriousness, there are plenty of reasons you may find yourself wondering if this whole social media thing is even worth the time and effort for your healthcare organization. Sometimes, you don’t always get the results you want and there are so many trends to stay on top of.
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering “What is this all for?” you’re in the right place.
It’s important to note that the title of this post isn’t just about whether or not social media is important for your healthcare organization. You don’t have to look far for a think piece or case study that will tell you social media is a great way to connect with consumers, showcase your patients’ and physicians’ stories, and get feedback in real time.
Most companies and organizations at this point agree that they ought to be doing something on social media. But a social media strategy gives that “something” a direction, a purpose. Without investing in the strategy portion, you may feel like you’re posting just to post.
A strategy can help you orient yourself in the sea of literally millions of other accounts. Here’s why you need one.
Understand Who Your Audience Really Is — And What They Really Want
Take a second to imagine the kind of person who follows your healthcare organization’s social media. How clearly can you see them? How old are they? How do you know that this is the person you’re actually marketing to?
Key audiences are a major part of both your social media and overall digital strategy. When you know who you’re creating content for, you can tailor the content you create to better serve, support, and convert them.
Figuring out who your audience is may mean analyzing current consumer demographic data if you have it, but it can also mean talking to these people directly. Discovery interviews with current patients can give you an inside look into their needs, wants, and questions. It’s a lot easier to create content when you can think back and picture the real-life face and opinion of someone your healthcare organization serves.
A Social Media Strategy Helps You Figure Out Who You Are
Have you ever looked at a brand’s social media account and thought, “These two posts were written by two totally different people?” A social media strategy can help you avoid this.
When your healthcare organization decides to join social media (or when your current plan doesn’t seem to be yielding results), it’s important to step back and strategize. Your social media strategy should take into account how you want to present your organization online.
To figure this out, you can ask yourself or your team questions like:
- What is the tone of your healthcare company’s voice on social media?
- What kinds of images do you share? What hashtags do you use?
- What CTAs are you asking your audience to accomplish?
- How is your organization going to respond to comments?
Your social media strategy should help you define — and standardize — exactly what your social media personality looks and sounds like.
Use Your Strategy To Identify Your Goals
Scrolling through your own social media feed can be a task you do pretty mindlessly — but this can’t be the approach you take to creating content for your healthcare organization. When you’re thoughtlessly churning out content, it might be a good time to think about what your social media goals actually are.
Your goals might be to:
- Build more awareness of your healthcare organization
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Increase conversions, sales, or leads
- Share important and timely health information
- Highlight career opportunities and increase applications
Your organizational goals may also influence which social media platforms you decide to build a presence on. And vice versa, which platforms you choose should also impact the goals you set.
Facebook is a tried-and-true tool that can enable you to answer patient questions. YouTube can be a great place for physician profiles or even how-to’s. Even TikTok can connect you to a younger audience or be a way to listen to current trends.
There’s no one right answer about what your goals should be or even which social media platforms you should select. There are just different options that might work better for your organization.
It Will Make Your Job Easier
When you have a social media strategy, the bottom line is that it will make your job easier. You will know who you’re trying to connect with and what you’re trying to accomplish. You’ll know what kind of metrics to collect and whether certain campaigns are working. You’ll also be able to share these insights with the leadership and stakeholders who make the final decisions about whether your efforts are worth investing in.
Because social media is such a ubiquitous part of our lives, it can be easy to take it for granted. But when it comes to putting that content out into the world, a social media strategy will serve you well.
Key Post Highlights
> The best healthcare marketing marries both organic and local SEO efforts.
> You can optimize local SEO using your Google Business Profile, reviews, and/or indoor virtual walkthroughs.
> There are common — but avoidable — mistakes healthcare organizations make in their local SEO efforts.
You’ve invested in optimizing your website for all the relevant keywords. You’ve got your pillar content, and you’re seeing organic traffic coming to your site. Your health systems blog is the leading driver of that traffic. That’s great — keep it up!
However, that’s only one part of the picture.
Another crucial aspect of healthcare marketing is local search. Local search is when you optimize your website to boost traffic, brand awareness, and visibility in your local area.
Over 30% of Google searches are location-related. That equates to billions of searches each day.
Unlike organic SEO, local SEO brings the competition home — literally. While organic SEO has a wider footprint and pulls in users nationally and even globally, local SEO helps businesses compete in their local market for the top three positions in the search results in Google’s Local Pack.
For healthcare organizations, local SEO is the most important battleground.
Why Focus on Local SEO?
Potential patients are looking for one of two things:
- Immediate care
Organic SEO efforts allow you to build a relationship with prospective patients that extends beyond the care and services you provide in the form of information. Then, when they have a health need, they already have a preferred provider to book an appointment with or an emergency department/urgent care center to visit.
Local search is the perfect net for prospective patients who are seeking immediate care. Maybe they need a new primary care provider, a second opinion, or an emergency department with the shortest wait time. Whatever they are searching for, the way patients typically make decisions about where to receive care are:
- Is it close to my work or home?
- Is my insurance accepted?
Local SEO addresses both of these criteria.
Because Google accounts for 86% of traffic worldwide, it’s the perfect place to kick off your local SEO efforts. Here’s how.
- Google Business Profile (36%)
- Reviews (17%)
- On-Page (16%)
- Links (13%)
- =Behavioral (7%)
- =Citations (7%)
- Personalization (4%)
- On-page (34%)
- Linked (31%)
- Behavioral (11%)
- Citations (7%)
- =Personalization (65)
- =GBP (6%)
- Reviews (5%)
The factors listed for “Local Pack” are the top several factors that impact your ranking for the “holy grail of local search results,” Google’s Local Pack.
The factors listed for “Local Organic,” are your efforts to optimize your website for organic search. Healthcare organizations already invested in SEO have a leg up in local search. By optimizing the listed factors, you can extend the impact of your efforts to rank in organic local search engine results page (SERP) listings.
Your organic search rankings heavily influence your local pack ranking. Simply put, as with love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other.
What Local SEO Ranking Factors Should Healthcare Organizations Prioritize?
When it comes to SEO efforts, there are high-lift (meaning they take time, money, or both) and low-lift options. There are also high-impact and low-impact approaches, but because you want the best results for your efforts, we’ll only focus on high-impact.
Low Lift: Google Business Profile
Google Business Profiles are free, and they’re an essential tool for healthcare organizations. The primary category and name, address, and phone (NAP) citations are the most important data points for your business to keep up-to-date. There are appointment booking features, posts, updates, and more. Leverage them.
Beyond the basic listing, the specific features that healthcare organizations should take advantage of are:
- Appointment booking
- Insurance accepted information
- Questions & answers (FAQs)
- Custom links, like emergency department and urgent care
High Lift: Reviews
Your reputation matters. In fact, reviews account for 17% of the ranking factors to compete in local search.
Keep in mind — you need to be responsive to reviews. When receiving good reviews, show gratitude by giving thanks for taking the time to review your business. When receiving feedback that isn’t great, thank them for alerting you to the experience they had, and direct them to someone who can help address the issues.
Getting and managing reviews isn’t an easy undertaking, but it’s a worthwhile one.
High Lift: Indoor Virtual Walkthroughs
It’s perfectly fine to use Google 360 virtual tours to brag! Got new birthing suites? Brag! Got state of the art surgical suites? Brag! Got an amazing pediatrics department with all the colors, animals, shapes, and frills? Brag!
Listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest. It will also aid in personalization and completing your Google Business Profile (GBP). Businesses with complete Google listings inspire trust and are 78% more likely to be viewed as well-established.
Top Mistakes Healthcare Organizations Make With Local SEO
Local SEO can be a game changer for your healthcare organization — but only if done correctly. Avoid these common but detrimental mistakes when optimizing for local SEO:
- Your organic SEO on your flagship site is inadequate.
- Your Google Business Profile is unmanaged or unused.
- Your Google Search Console (a tool that helps measure your site’s search traffic and fixes issues, like how your site appears in organic search results) is unmanaged.
- Your reviews are left unaddressed.
Any one of these mistakes can take away business from your organization. If you don’t have the bandwidth or skillset to address all of these adequately, hire an agency to take one or all of these off your plate.
Local SEO is an important part of a solid marketing strategy. By making it a part of yours, you’ll reap the benefits of local traffic, leads, and patients.
Key Post Highlights
> Health challenges at work are possible, but you might need to get creative.
> Health is not about “good” & “bad.” It’s about making choices that work with your body.
> How we talk about health can impact how successful a wellness challenge is.
From Valentine’s Day parties to putting together the CareContent Cookbook to organizing a book club (check out our current book!), our Office Fun Team does its best to bring good vibes to the CareContent Team. We love finding new, meaningful ways to engage.
As a company that serves and supports a range of healthcare and healthcare-adjacent organizations, health is always top of mind. So participating in a health or wellness challenge might feel like a logical next step for Office Fun.
Done wrong and a health challenge may become overly competitive and team members may feel discouraged from participating.
Done well, a health challenge at work can bring teammates closer together. It can encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and try a new activity — or make a new goal for their health.
So if you are thinking of starting a wellness challenge at work (like for American Heart Month), here are 4 things to keep in mind to help your team be successful.
1. Think Outside the Box About What It Means to Be “Healthy”
There are many ways you can still focus on health in the workplace — it might just look different from a traditional step per day or even a weight loss challenge. When thinking about what might work for your team, consider their personalities and what kinds of activities they respond to.
Are they always down to try something new? Have you heard people saying they wish they had more time to prepare meals? Are they already super fitness conscious and love to push each other? Many different factors can influence what kind of challenge you organize, and it can be good to ask your team about their goals.
You may need to get a little creative about how you approach your challenge, but here are some ideas to get you started.
One challenge we’ve conducted at CareContent is a Water Challenge. I’ll be honest though — in thinking about our language around health, we didn’t call it that. We called it ABC Water Goals (All ‘Bout CareContent Water Goals). Our approach was simple. Everyone decided for themselves how much water they wanted to drink each day. Our spreadsheet for tracking was each team member’s name, the date, and two completion options for the question “Did you meet your goal?” Yes or not quite! We focused on individual goals, team accountability, and just one way of focusing on our health for 2 weeks.
Mental Health Challenge
In addition to your physical health, mental health is a great focus for team activities as well. A mental health challenge might be something you formally organize — or it can be something that simply becomes a part of your workplace culture.
For us at CareContent, we make reflection a part of who we are. When life gets busy and hard, you can find us in our team chat with the prompt, “What’s something good that’s happened recently, and what are you looking forward to?” When we come back from winter break, everyone is asked to share “The best gift they got this year AND the best gift they gave.”
These might not seem like a traditional “health challenge,” but they can help your team slow down, focus on the positive, and even cause a shift in perspective — all of which can be good for mental health.
Health Literacy Challenge
Health isn’t just about what we do with our bodies or brains each day — it’s also about how much we know about our own health. Another wellness challenge you could do at work could have a goal of everyone learning and sharing something new about health. Ask everyone to learn more about one aspect of health, healthy choices, or a health condition that interests them.
At CareContent, this is something of an “unofficial” part of the job. We are always sharing health news we find interesting and shouting each other out in the editing process if we learn something new from reading someone’s piece. You can also make this approach more formal, by having each team member put together a 5-minute presentation that can be shared all at once or at a series of meetings. This can help boost your team’s health literacy, and in turn, their overall health.
2. Good Health Is Not A Moral High Ground
Whether we mean to or not, when we think about health, we often think about morality. Some foods are “good” and some foods are “bad.” Some activities are “good” and others are “bad.” People either have “good” health or “bad” health. This way of thinking takes something neutral — the way our bodies function — and turns it into an issue of right or wrong.
In reality, different foods help your body do different things. Different bodies do different things. You aren’t a bad person if you can’t bench press your body weight, and you’re not a good person if you only eat green things on Tuesday.
We have to disconnect health from morality and recognize that health has many different facets. Everyone — including medical practitioners — has a different definition of what healthy means for them and everyone’s health goals are different.
If you’re creating a health challenge at work, these are inner biases and assumptions you will have to challenge yourself — and may need to present to your team. Taking into consideration other people’s thoughts about health can help you approach a potential wellness challenge thoughtfully and with an open mind.
3. Remember: Language Matters
When it comes to the way we think and talk about health, language matters. This is especially true when it comes to the way that we talk about health at work. Many of the words and phrases we use around health can be packed with shame, guilt, and negative associations.
Even just the phrase “health challenge” might set some team members on edge — because for many people with chronic illness or pain, their health may already feel like a challenge.
Be conscious of the words you are using when you talk about health, food, and physical activity. Talking about dieting for example can be difficult for someone who struggles with disordered eating habits or an eating disorder.
Think about how you want to talk about your wellness challenge, and how your messaging can be interpreted. It takes time to be intentional about your language, but if you want your health challenge to be a positive experience, it’s definitely worth it.
4. Team Activities Fun Should Be Fun
It might sound obvious, but if a wellness challenge is a part of your office fun, it should be fun. It should bring people together and help them achieve their goals.
Organized health events are not something you can throw together overnight and hope for the best — it takes thoughtful planning, reflection, and maybe even some unlearning to be successful.
Key Post Highlights
> What is paid campaign data really telling you?
> What potential pitfalls come with paid campaigns?
> How should healthcare organizations use paid campaigns?
Let’s face it — analytics isn’t everyone’s jam. However, we know that we need insights from data to help us make data-driven decisions. With paid efforts, it’s critical that we get those insights to determine what is yielding an ROI and what we should eliminate, and most importantly WHY we should eliminate it.
I like to see analytics as a love langues. They are either whispering words of affirmation that my efforts were successful or doing me an act of service by letting me know that it’s time to eliminate a program.
The reason I love analytics so much is because I love seeing that the work our strategy and content teams are putting in is paying off, as well as the opportunities to improve or change things up based on what they reveal.
But I also understand that if you don’t know what you’re looking at or what kinds of KPIs you are looking for, then your analytics aren’t going to be useful, or should I say, loving to you. So let’s talk about understanding paid campaign analytics.
Understanding Website Analytics From Paid Campaigns
- When you are using paid ads to boost or expand your reach, there will be two sets of analytics:
- The analytics you get from the paid platform itself. This is often Google Ads or Facebook Ads, but it can also include any social platform or channel that you use to pay for ads — even if it’s podcasts, commercials, or radio spots. All of these things come with metrics.
- The metrics you will see on your side of the wall, which are typically available in Google Analytics, Hotjar, HubSpot, or your CRM of choice.
It’s important to take the analytics provided by the paid platforms with a grain of salt. For a number of reasons, those numbers may not actually add up. When looking at the metrics related to paid campaigns, you really only want to know two things:
- What is working and why?
- What should be eliminated and why?
What Is Your Paid Campaigns Website Analytics Telling You?
In order to figure out what is actually yielding an ROI when paying for conversions or driving traffic to your site, the first thing you need to learn is what the industry benchmark is for paid advertising by platform. My favorite source for healthcare advertising benchmarking is produced by WordStream.
Now that you know what the goals should be, you may be patting yourself on the back because your metrics are spot on. Or you’re totally freaking out, because your results aren’t even close. Don’t panic, sometimes it takes a while to achieve these benchmarks. It’s totally doable over time by testing campaigns, promoting what is working, and eliminating what isn’t.
The next thing you need to do is calculate your:
- Average click-through rate (CTR) = clicks ÷ impressions
- Average cost per lead (CPL) = total marketing spend ÷ total number of new leads
- Average cost per click (CPC) = total cost of your clicks ÷ total number of clicks
- Average conversion rate = number of conversions ÷ number of total ad interactions that can be tracked to a conversion during the same time period
- Average monthly spend = sum of all the months spent ÷ total number of values (months) in the set
With this information, you can look at industry advertising benchmark data to make some determinations.
Here is where things get really interesting. The metrics from your paid efforts are indicating the performance of your ads and the performance of your landing pages and offer.
- Data Set 1: Average click-through rate (CTR), average cost per lead (CPL), and average cost per click (CPC) indicate campaign performance.
- Data Set 2: Average conversion rate indicates the performance of your landing page and offer.
This helps get to the reason WHY your campaigns are either performing well or not. For example, if everything is hitting the industry benchmarks in data set one, but your conversions aren’t hitting, what the data is telling you is that it’s time to optimize your landing page and/or offer for conversions.
It’s normal to have success in spots, even within the same data set. DON’T just throw the whole campaign away without truly evaluating each part on its own result. Once all things come together, that’s what I like to call the vein of gold.
The Potential Pitfalls Of Paid Campaigns
The first few times you pursue a paid campaign, you typically won’t get super high success metrics. With this in mind, I recommend that you look at your own site data.
It doesn’t matter how many conversions paid platforms report. Do you actually see those people in your own data? Did those people actually reach out to you? Did you get a phone call from them? Did they really fill out the contact form?
Even what Google Analytics reports as conversion and what actually is a conversion may not be the same. There could be inaccurate set-up. It’s also on your marketing teams to check their own CRM to see if there was follow through on the part of the user. That is what you should count as an actual conversion, whether you are looking at the analytics or not. Trust what you can actually see.
Remember: Paid campaigns are intended to pay off now, not later. When I hear people say, “Oh, it might take some time for my campaign to be effective,” I tell them, “No. Paid should be instant. If people aren’t converting or at least hanging out on your site for a while, that’s a failed attempt.” Depending on what the data is telling you, you may need to scrap it, pivot, test something else.
Another thing to keep in mind is that anybody in healthcare marketing should not be doing paid campaigns to immediately convert patients. This is mainly because that’s typically not how patients make decisions about their healthcare.
Surveys suggest that:
- About half of us pick our hospitals or healthcare providers based on word-of-mouth from family and friends,
- About 20% of us say social media influences our decision, and
- Nearly 70% of us turn to online reviews when picking a provider.
None of those things points to people choosing providers based on paid campaigns.
The only outliers are campaigns inviting prospective patients to get a second opinion and for touring specialty departments like birthing centers.
Then How Should You Use Paid Campaigns For Healthcare Marketing?
If you’re going to use paid campaigns, my suggestion would be to come up with a strategy to remarket to your patients. Now, you may be thinking, “Oh gosh, this is healthcare marketing, I can’t remarket. That’s a HIPAA violation.” No, calm down. I’m not talking about the industry standard of remarketing.
I’m talking about capturing audience members in a database so you can send them newsletters, ask them to follow you on social media, and stay in touch with you. You only want to pay to get them once, by giving them something very resourceful so that they sign up to get regular marketing communications from you that have nothing to do with their private health data.
- Always trust the results you can see, like a new lead in your CRM.
- Paid only works while you are doing it.
- Healthcare marketers need to remember: Audience behavior indicates that ads don’t typically drive new patient appointments.
All in all, you can’t succeed unless you try. So, go ahead and try to see what impact paid programs can have on your organization’s business goals in 2023.
Coming up in part 2: What language is your organic content metrics speaking and how can you use it to create more and better performing content?
When filling out forms, I have always dreaded the infamous “race box.”
You know, the one that gives you a standard list of choices to pick from? This guy? ↓↓↓
Please select your race:
☐ Black or African American
☐ American Indian or Alaska Native
☐ Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
Source: The United States Census Bureau
For some people, this box is just another field they fill out on forms. But for others, it can represent something of an identity crisis.
As a biracial woman, I never know what to put in that box. My mother is white, and my dad is Vietnamese. A million thoughts run through my head when I’m asked to fill out that box — especially on medical forms.
“Do I just put white? Do I just check Asian? Do I check both? Can I check both? What if there’s a really specific disease specific to one of those races, but I put the other one and they don’t test for it?”
(I tend to overthink in general, if you couldn’t tell).
It took me a long time to realize that these are valid questions — and they may be ones your patients ask themselves as well. But as healthcare marketers and professionals, a better question might be: Does it have to be this way? And, can we be doing something better?
We Unpacked The Race Box: What Happened
In the fall of 2021, CareContent partnered with a client who, like us, was pushing back on the idea of the race box. They were interested in attracting a diverse audience to their residency program. Like, a genuinely diverse audience, not just one that looked diverse on paper.
In order to accomplish this, our partnership included many different points of growth and development. It included strategies like revamping their website, putting their commitment to diversity front and center, showcasing their already diverse graduate students, and focusing on SEO so the right candidates could find them.
Another element of this focus on inclusion was to reconsider the race and ethnicity questions on one of their interest forms. Potential applicants would have the opportunity to chat with a current resident in the program, and they wanted to know a little bit about the individuals who were interested.
Rather than just do what’s always been done, both their team and ours saw this as an opportunity to rethink some of those questions we take for granted — including the questions about race and ethnicity.
What We Did
To get a better sense of who was considering applying — and to communicate to them that the program was committed to accepting those residents’ whole identities — we decided to rewrite the race data-collecting question entirely.
When we went about crafting this question, our first goal was to remove the burden of the options. In making this question open-ended with a text entry box — instead of a checkbox — applicants could feel empowered to provide an answer that felt more accurate and authentic.
We also considered potential results of making the question encompass race, ethnicity, and cultural identity — instead of making these separate questions. In doing so, the question recognizes that our identities are not made up of disparate variables, but rather that we sit at the intersection of multiple identities that are all pushing and pulling on our sense of self.
Lastly, we wanted to communicate our intentions for making the choice we did. When collecting demographic data, there can be a lack of transparency. “What do you need my race for? Are you immediately going to sell my email to the highest bidder?” In deviating from the expected, this form chose to explain why.
What We Found Out
By asking this question in this way, we opened ourselves up to the wide range of responses we might get. Over 100 potential applicants filled out the “Chat With a Residency Leader” form — and of those, nearly 75% answered the question on race, ethnicity, and cultural identity.
Open-Ended Identity Question Findings
10% indicated their status as first, second, or third-generation immigrants or college graduates.
6% shared the ways religion impacts their identity.
65% responded with two or more identity markers.
Others spoke of the places they were born or the places they call home now. Many spoke about their parents, the languages they speak, and how their identity drives their desire to pursue medicine. Some even expressed their gratitude about being asked this question in this particular way.
The results blew us away — we could not have expected the breadth of responses, and we couldn’t replicate them again if we tried. Each individual response encapsulated a specific person at a specific time, reflecting on their identity in a specific way.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Ultimately, what we sought to do was to remove the burden of a different box — the “other” box — where maybe you’re not 100% sure what to select, so you choose the write-in option under “other.” By reframing this as an open-ended prompt, we were able to address this “othering” of the other box.
As we continue to grapple individually and societally with questions of race and identity, there are many things we might come up against that could use some reimagining. How we ask people about their identity is just one of them.
The case shared here is just one potential approach — and it might not be the best one for every single situation. For example, if you want to know how many people receive a blood pressure screening at your hospital this quarter — and how many belong to a certain racial or ethnic minority — it may not be the best data-collecting option to ask people to identify in this open-ended way.
But if you’re running a grief support group — and you want to bring in experts with fitting cultural expertise — then maybe it does make more sense to ask group participants to answer an open-ended prompt instead.
Very rarely is there one “right answer.” More often, there are simply many potential approaches that offer different insights depending on the information we’re actually looking for.
When it comes to demographic data collection, the way you ask this question might be impacted by anything from geography to what data you’re trying to collect. But while there may not be one right way to ask this demographic question, how we ask it is worth questioning.
Are you looking to attract more diverse residents, physicians, or patients? CareContent can help you get there.
I’ve moved a lot in my adult life, leading to a pretty common list of Google searches upon settling into a new place. Those “The truck is unloaded and you’ve eaten half a pizza and are wondering if you made the right choice” kind of Google searches. You know the ones.
Megan’s Post-Move Search History
- Primary care providers in “Insert City Here”
- Ice cream shops near me
- Thrift stores in my area
- Birds in my state
While all of these searches are equally important — to me at least — one of them probably has more relevance to your healthcare organization. (It’s the birds, of course.)
Okay, it’s the search for providers. Potential patients looking for a new provider might come upon your healthcare organization through a Google search or a word-of-mouth recommendation to check out your practice.
To get that potential patient to make an appointment and get in the door, your healthcare website is doing a lot of heavy lifting. Yet no matter how much work has gone into making that journey happen for a user — to them, it has to feel effortless.
If they’re looking for a primary care provider, they should be able to find one. If they’re looking for a specialist, that information should be at the tip of their fingers.
That’s where your provider directory comes in — and why it needs to be a good one.
A Good Provider Directory Should Be Usable
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many provider directories are not easily usable.
For most people, unusable can mean a clunky interface, a slow loading time, or a search and filter function that is unreliable at best — and nonexistent at worst. All of these small inconveniences can create big patient frustration. Each is a ding against your healthcare organization and your credibility.
But usability isn’t only for the people using your site. Your provider directory is also under yet another scrutinizing eye: Google.
While keeping Google in mind might feel like just another task on your to-do list, it’s actually a pretty exciting one. With the right information, you can have a big impact on your visibility on a Google results page.
You need to make sure your pages are filled with the right information — and that that information is tagged correctly for Google to find it. Physician information comes with its own tag schema that can boost a page in Google’s local search.
Become familiar with the kinds of info you need to include, and make sure to collect it for each individual provider profile.
Top 3 Qualities Of A Good Provider Directory
- Valid data that is kept up to date — like location, phone numbers, and insurances accepted
- Information for patients to make a decision (depends on organization goals, intended user interaction)
- Good search and filter function to easily find the providers that are relevant to a user
Your Provider Directory Is About Your Providers
On the backend of creating a provider directory, there are a lot of moving pieces. There may even be some office politics, too.
But for your patients and their user experience, it has to be all about the providers.
Your provider directory — done well — gives a human face and personality to what otherwise would be simply a name on a screen. Credentials and specialties alone won’t tell potential patients what a provider is actually like, but simple additions to a provider’s page can.
Consider including things on a physician’s profile page like:
- A warm and welcoming headshot
- A short bio explaining their background, medical, or educational journey — even interests or hobbies
- A provider video that shows them talking about themselves and in their own environment
Google also rewards longer content, so including more information can have exponential benefits in addition to increasing the amount of time a user might stay on a particular page.
Provider Directories Aren’t One And Done
While many healthcare website trends ebb and flow with time, one thing that probably won’t change is users coming to your website and wanting to find a physician. This makes provider directories a worthwhile long-term investment.
But just because provider directories as a tool aren’t going out of style any time soon, that doesn’t mean you can create it and forget about it.
Data clean-up is an area that a lot of organizations underestimate in terms of time and effort. Though it may not be something you do until after your directory is set up, it’s actually a critical step in ensuring a good directory.
“When it comes to provider directory longevity, it’s important to have a clear process for data governance, ownership, and maintenance. Without a detailed and agreed-upon process, data can become out of sync and stale over time.”
In one study conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, they found that more than half of the provider directory locations assessed had at least one inaccuracy. This alone is a good reason to double-check the information in your provider directory.
- Does a provider currently practice where your directory says they do?
- Is the contact information for each provider accurate?
- Is a provider actually accepting new patients if it says they’re accepting new patients?
At the end of the day, bad data in equals bad data out — and a poor experience for users. If your directory says Dr. Smith is a physician at your practice but moved out of state 2 months ago, it doesn’t matter how beautiful or welcoming their page is. It’s still out of date.
The Power Of Your Provider Directory
Depending on the size of your organization, building or revamping your provider directory might feel like a Herculean-sized undertaking. You may be thinking, “We have thousands of providers — I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
But isn’t that all the more reason to make sure potential patients can find someone quickly and painlessly?
Or maybe you’re thinking, “We’re a small healthcare organization — we don’t have that many providers to comb through, anyway.”
But isn’t that a good opportunity to show patients you offer the same high level of quality as larger institutions?
No matter the size of your healthcare organization, everyone can benefit from a more efficient provider directory — and CareContent is here to help.