Outdated Sites Can Deter New PatientsRead Time: 5 minutes
A website is the most cost-effective way to market a business and keeping a site relevant, secure and fast is critical. Web design trends change quickly and staying abreast of best practices for site standards is key to earning the trust of consumers. While a great website can promote a business, an oudated website will certainly deter potential new patients. In addition to a site looking and performing well, Google updates algorithms regularly that strongly effect search engine results when a site is not up to date. Americans today are fortunate to have many options in healthcare. Now that the internet has been accessible for more than three generations, online research is commonplace. Most people start research at the source, which is a company’s website. Many people’s reaction to an outdated website is that if the site is bad, so is the service and the company loses trustworthiness.
How Self-Insured Patients Are Changing Healthcare
In the past, insurance companies dictated who, when and how often patients could visit a doctor. With more flexible health plans and many Americans choosing to self-insure, many patients select doctors more carefully than in the past. With decisions makers relying on online research having a current web presence becomes very valuable to physician practices and hospitals.
Sites That Are Not Secure
Most reputable sites today are secured. This is easily visible by the https prefix at the beginning of the website address. Cybersecurity and cyberterrorism are topics in the news regularly and having an outdated website that is not secure are enough to stop many consumers from further investigating the site. Google pays close attention to any site dealing with YMYL (your money your life) and will display secure websites in search results before showing unsecure sites. If a site is not secure some browsers will alert the user before loading site. This action brings an almost 100% bounce rate.
Clicking on a link and getting a 404 error may be one of the worst user experiences a consumer can have on a website. While most people do not think the doctor is personally maintaining a practice website, having 404 errors on a site does reflect poorly on the practice or hospital. Providing a seamless, easy user experience for a patient on a website reflects the type of experience expected in person.
Too Long To Load
Older websites that have not been maintained properly or use outdated technology will have much slower load times than people are accustomed to today. Most individuals will click off a website that doesn’t load quickly. Today, the average load time for a web page is less than half a second. In 2017 the average load speed time was 3.21 seconds. Consumer expectations continue to increase as the computing power in cell phones and laptops leaps forward each year. A physician or hospital may have extremely helpful information available to patients but if the site performs poorly this information will likely not be read.
A very real threat to healthcare sites that are not updated consistently are the vulnerabilities that are often exploited by ignoring cybersecurity updates. These security holes are how a user can unknowingly be redirected to less savory sites often with malicious intent. This problem is especially critical for hospitals and physician offices where a patient may not think twice about inputting PHI (protected health information). A site redirection where a patient provides personal information could cause liability issues for the practice or hospital as demonstrated by a recent Supreme Court ruling regarding patient data.
Outdated Site / Outdated Doctor
Patients believe that when a site is outdated that the doctor may be too. This assumption is not rational but does occur quite frequently. The other assessment new patients often make is that if a practice doesn’t have time to update the site than the doctor may be too busy to provide quality care. Simply put, hospitals, doctors, surgery centers and any other healthcare entity can no longer afford to have broken sites and a web presence that’s not maintained regularly.