Survey: Health Care Provider Websites Still Need Work

Despite efforts to move health care into the digital age, patients say provider websites lack important features including easy access to information and options for contacting a representative.

The health care industry is slowly moving into the 21st century. Indeed, the conversation about big data is dominated by health care industry concerns and there are startups working to provide innovative solutions. Despite all of the improvements, according to a recent survey from customer experience software provider Kentico, there is still lots of room to grow.

Kentico surveyed 512 patients over the age of 18 about their experience using the web to connect with health care providers. More than 70 percent said health provider websites could be more helpful, and of this same group, more than 80 percent said a top issue is not being able to reach their provider using their preferred method.

Eighty-four percent of patients surveyed expressed frustration with finding what they were looking for on provider websites, and half of respondents want to be able to contact a health care representative in real time, using the website. While more than half of the survey respondents said they chose providers based on the website, the website is only part of the equation. In keeping with the digital trend, 69 percent of respondents said they rely on online reviews to help them choose a provider.

Health care providers seem to consider social media a useful forum for distributing information. However, 79 percent of respondents said they didn’t consider social an important factor in choosing a health care provider. Furthermore, 74 percent would rather receive updates via email or text, likely because of the sensitive nature of the information patients want and receive.

According to the survey, health care providers are lagging behind when it comes to the mobile revolution. 40 percent of the respondents said they had trouble navigating provider websites using a mobile device and 41 percent said they’d rather visit the website using a desktop. What’s more, despite respondents ranking text as one of their preferred method of communication, only 11 percent reported being offered this option.

Telephone was ranked the most preferred method of communication by survey respondents, followed by email. However, according to the survey, 34 percent of patients can’t even reach providers by email.

Kentico CEO and founder Petr Palas acknowledged that challenge that health care providers face and noted that while there is still lots of room to grow, patients do appreciate the effort of health care to embrace the Web.

Using the web to communicate in regulated industries such as healthcare is challenging to say the least, but healthcare providers seem to have made significant strides over the years in using the web to connect with patients in meaningful ways.

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