Designing a healthcare website
Because of their inherent complexity and the challenges of regulatory compliance, healthcare website design projects are notoriously complicated and prone to costly mistakes.

Whether you’re a small private practice or a multi-campus hospital system, you can protect your budget and improve your outcome by watching out for these nine common mistakes.

Mistake #1: Fail to plan

Strategy matters in all website projects, but especially for healthcare sites.

Knowing your goals, defining requirements, and understanding costs and timelines make the difference between effective healthcare websites that get results and costly overruns that don’t please anyone.

Mistake #2: Ignore your patients

You may think you understand what your patients need from your website. But is that knowledge based on actual research?

Every time we do persona research for a healthcare client, we turn up interesting and unexpected results.

Basing decisions on real patient responses helps you focus on what’s important: maximizing results while keeping costs down.

Mistake #3: Skimp on physician profiles

Across the board, in every demographic, we see patients choosing providers online.

Your website is your first impression, and often your only chance to present providers in the best light so patients choose your practice over the alternative.

Too much medical jargon and thin detail make physicians appear cold and distant, versus the friendly experts that patients want.

Read more about how to optimize your doctor bio pages »

Mistake #4: Lose control of the brand, a.k.a. don’t let your physicians create their own sites

Even smaller practices can lose control of their brand identity when physicians set up separate, unbranded sites.

In larger organizations, these sub-sites often prove impossible to manage.

Keeping the website content centralized and branded builds consistency and effectiveness, both from technical and communications perspectives.

Mistake #5: Make it difficult to navigate

Whether it’s getting to the right information on your website or finding the way to an appointment, healthcare websites have to prioritize clarity.

For many patients, healthcare situations are stressful and difficult. Your website should work to make the process easier.

Providing clear wayfinding information, easy maps, and intuitive website structure—including the ability to make online appointments and ask questions—makes a significant difference in patient satisfaction and retention.

Mistake #6: Involve too many people in decisions

Having multiple stakeholders and approval authorities adds time and complexity to healthcare website design projects.

The more you can streamline and define decision points in advance, the better results you’ll achieve.

If you have too many hands in the pot, you’ll wind up with delayed timelines and merged solutions that don’t make anyone happy.

Instead, be sure everyone’s voice is heard, then allow your marketing team to provide solutions that best meet business goals and keep the project on track.

Mistake #7: Underestimate time commitments and budget trade-offs

With competing priorities and a long list of requirements, it’s easy to get off track. In all website design projects, the challenge is to strike a balance between time, cost, and results.

With a healthcare website, the scope is wider and the stakes are higher.

Advance planning and expert counsel can help you budget the right amount of time and money to achieve your goals and keep your website functioning well long-term.

Mistake #8: Forget final steps

After a long, complicated process, it’s easy to overlook the final steps.

The larger and more complex your existing website, the longer you need to allow for final steps like making sure each page redirects to the new site and handling the myriad technical details that are crucial to your site’s performance.

Mistake #9: Miss opportunities to track, measure, and refine

After you launch your new healthcare website design, your work is not over.

Investing in a redesign project gives you great opportunities to expand your marketing program and measure real results.

Be sure you plan internal time or outside help to stay on top of your new website, make ongoing improvements, and layer in marketing initiatives that are appropriate.

Avoid the pitfalls and make sure your hospital website gets results. TBH Creative is a full-service marketing and design firm with extensive experience in healthcare websites.
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