The following is a recap of Bridgeline Digital’s latest webinar, “How Your Website Can Drive Patient Activation,” including exclusive (yes, ONLY HERE) answers to select questions that did not get answered during the live presentation due to time restraints. To watch the archived version of the webinar CLICK HERE!
In this space we talk about innovation (Responsive Design), SEO strategies, eCommerce News, Content Marketing, CMS capabilities. The works. All of it. At our webinar, “How Your Website Can Drive Patient Activation,” we had a chance to step back and see these terms, ideas, and products in practicum. We talked with Robin Doerr, the Executive Director of Marketing and Communications of Children’s Hospital CO, and Joseph Hice, the vice President of Public Relations and Marketing of Moffitt Cancer Center, both of whom offered their expertise as leading healthcare marketers on how to leverage website design to vastly improve Patient Activation.
Holly Korda, who is a Ph.D. and deputy director for strategy and growth at the Altarum Institute, already explained Patient Activation’s meaning better than I ever could. In short, Patient Activation refers to a patient’s and ability willingness to be involved their own health outcomes. With reform changing the focus of reimbursement models to retention, professionals are facing an increasingly competitive milieu. And Patient Activation becomes that much more important.
In a study by the official journal of the American Public Health Association (APHA), participants were “taught to identify questions that would help them consider their role, process and reasons behind a decision; and empowerment strategies to better manage their care.” Results found that intervention helped immensely. The following conclusions were made about the educated focus group:
“ … over twice as likely to be retained in treatment and over 3 times more likely than comparison participants to have scheduled at least 1 visit during the 6-month follow-up period. Similarly, intervention participants demonstrated 29% more attendance to scheduled visits than comparison patients.”
A website, more than any other medium or outlet, is a one-stop experience offering patients the opportunity to learn about their ailments, referral services, compile resources with information on preventative care, and much more. Joe and Robin gave presentations about their experiences in leveraging web presence to strengthen patient activation, and then fielded questions from the audience.
Due to time restraints, however, we weren’t able to answer all the submitted questions. Joseph Hice and Robin Doerr were kind enough to take the time to answer the rest here at the B-Line blog.
Question: A website redesign is a large investment for an organization. Now that you have a finished product, how are you positioning the new site to your board to justify the investment? What measurements are you using and what ROI have you seen? Could you provide metrics before and after the site redesigns?
Joseph Hice: We are using lots of web analytics to justify the investment. As I discussed in the presentation, first and foremost, we’ve seen a drastic increase in the number of visitors; we’re up over 12% in traffic from pre-launch figures, which is outstanding.
Other areas where we’ve seen positive change is the movement in Google Rankings on search pages, time visitors spend on the site, number of pages visited, and much more. Basically we’re monitoring every aspect of the site and reporting back on a regular basis. And don’t forget the anecdotal stories and positive comments. We’ve received dozens upon dozens from staff, docs, nurses, patients; which, again, is phenomenal.
Robin Doerr: Our board of directors understands that the web is one of the first entry-points to our organization and therefore, a strategic channel worth investing in. One of our biggest areas of focus has been making sure all our web re-design is responsive. We are investing now which ensures that no matter what mobile device people are using (phone, tablet or laptop), their experience is consistent and provides easy navigation. We do track and report metrics quarterly, including: visits, new visitors, search engines efficiency (% of visitors to our site coming from search engines), appointments, referrals, and donations.
Question: What can you say about your CMS and how it facilitates the SEO and usability that you have achieved on these two projects?
Joseph Hice: I don’t know the technical aspects of the iAPPS Platform, but SEO was considered during every step of the redesign process. I think that is evidenced by the significant increase in web traffic, and the significant movement up in Google Search results of a list of close to 100 terms. All of this has happened as a result of the redesign. We have done nothing to promote the site yet. We wanted to give it at least six months to settle in before doing so. We’re planning on an “official” launch in early 2013. That is if the world doesn’t end on 12-12-12.
Question: I’m curious about your content strategies. Are the staff empowered to make website content changes?
Joseph Hice: We provided the content for the site when it was launched and have been providing additional content on an almost daily basis. But, we are encouraging Web Administrators to add information as needed. To help get them up to speed we worked with Bridgeline to conduct a day of what I call “Voice Lessons.” These were sessions where we talked about the tone and approach we wanted everyone to take when posting materials to the web. In all, close to 70 people on campus participated and it was a great experience.
After the Voice Lessons, we invited that group to participate in basic content training. During the training, we reinforced the tone and voice focus we wanted to promote, and walked our content specialists through the process of using the iAPPS Platform. It was basically a training program for those we would like to add to the site.
Robin Doerr: Awesome question! Updates are one of the reasons we selected Bridgeline. The iAPPS platform will allow us to identify key administrators across our organization that will be trained to go in and update website content in their departments/web areas periodically, whether it be clinical or administrative areas. Our web team resides in the marketing department and is a staff of three; therefore, it is not possible for us to keep track of all pages. In marketing, we manage the top 50 pages with updates regularly. Our homepage is part of a weekly communication review – we align our communication strategies across multiple channels so our messages are consistent. That will always remain in marketing.
We must allow key partners across multiple departments in our organization to update content as well, especially when it is clinical. We have invested in training them to understand how to align with a content development strategy so our “voice” remains consistent