Special Considerations for Your Healthcare Web Design
The past two years have demonstrated that healthcare providers are the backbone of a well-functioning economy. The pandemic also proved that an effective digital presence is an integral part of a successful medical business as millions of people consulted remotely with providers, made vaccination appointments online, and used self-test kits under the observant eye of telehealth providers.
The digital-forward trend is poised to continue well into 2022 and beyond, since research indicates that three out of four people use online searches to find physicians and medical care. Folks read online reviews of providers and expect to find all the relevant information about a medical practice on its website.
If your medical site isn’t up to speed, you’ll lose out on new patients and credibility. That’s why we pulled together the best healthcare web design practices to help you attract patients and inspire their trust. After all, helping people is why you do what you do in the first place.
Design that inspires confidence
Healthcare is a weighty subject and often involves decisions that are not made lightly. To put patients at ease, your site should reflect the seriousness of your profession.
- Clean. Don’t clutter your pages with unnecessary and distracting graphics, colors, and text. Keep it neat and simple.
- Professional. A medical site is no place for off-the-wall experimentation. This doesn’t mean, of course, that your design can’t be creative. It just means that you should be thoughtful about any aesthetic flourishes, ensuring that they serve a purpose beyond looking pretty.
- Easy to navigate. Don’t confuse your visitors with a ton of links and endless menus. Remember: people are busy. Help them find what they’re looking for with simple, intuitive navigation. And, if they’re looking for medical help, they most likely came to your website with that intent in mind.
Approachable, helpful content
Patients are all different, and it’s important that your site content is understandable for diverse ages and backgrounds, including folks with limited computer skills.
- Be straightforward. Use language that’s easy to understand. When you’re communicating with patients, not providers, there’s usually no need for technical jargon.
- Introduce your team. To help prospective patients feel more welcome, share information about your staff, including high-quality photos of your team members.
- Explain what you do. Patients shouldn’t have to guess about who does what. Clearly indicate your staff’s areas of expertise and specialization.
- Share feedback. When it comes to their health, patients want to be certain that they’re making the right choice. Reassure your visitors with reviews, ratings, and testimonials from real customers.
- Use imagery liberally. Keep in mind that most of your visitors aren’t going to be experts on anatomy or medical procedures. Help them understand important details about devices and procedures with clear, colorful images and videos.
The credibility of your practice is directly related to the functionality of your site. A site that crashes, loads slowly, or looks misaligned on a small screen undermines your expertise and trustworthiness.
After all, your page is the first glimpse prospective patients are going to get of your medical practice. Think about it: would you want to be treated at a clinic that had dirty windows or a broken front door? We didn’t think so.
Focus on Mobile Optimization
Since the majority of your visitors are going to be using mobile devices, it’s important that your page is mobile friendly. In response to user behavior, Google tends to prioritize mobile-friendly sites. To guarantee that your website looks great on all devices and shows up in online searches, design should be mobile-responsive, which means that it will automatically resize to fit all screen sizes.
To earn the continued trust of your patients, it’s important to offer a robust data protection program that takes a step beyond HIPAA compliance to keep their healthcare information safe from hackers.
Your site should be reliable and quick, and for that you’ll need a reputable web hosting provider. For a healthcare site, there’s an extra step: your hosting service needs to be compliant with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards if your site will be processing, transmitting, and likely storing confidential health information. That immediately rules out most standard providers.
While HIPAA-compliant solutions aren’t cheap, protecting your patients’ sensitive information from security breaches should be your top priority. Fortunately, there are quite a few “off the shelf” patient database providers that offer HIPAA-compliant solutions that you can use for a reasonable monthly fee.
To further protect patient data, it’s critical to opt for SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology. From the “Contact Us” form to the comment section of your website, every piece of info your patients enter is considered Protected Health Information by HIPAA standards. SSL encrypts the form data that’s transmitted from your patient’s browser to your server so that sensitive information isn’t traveling over public networks.
Access and Data Usage Controls
By only allowing authorized users to access patient information with multi-factor authentication, your site can go the extra mile to protect patient privacy and security. It’s also smart to implement data controls to flag or block any risky data activity, like unauthorized uploads, copying, or email sending.
Practicality and usefulness
Once all design, functionality, and security considerations are in place, take a minute to think about how your site can deliver practical and useful value to your visitors.
- Streamline the sign-up option for an e-newsletter. For example, if your site is for a medical device that’s still under development, it might be months or even years before a prospective customer will be able to purchase it. Make it easy for them to keep tabs on your company’s updates with an effortless newsletter sign-up.
- Create a blog. If there are regular developments in your practice, your existing patients and future visitors can keep up-to-date.
- Integrate online scheduling and bill payment. Long gone are the days of sitting on hold after reaching a medical receptionist. Making an appointment or paying a bill online should be intuitive and easy.
- Keep patients and practitioners separate. Patients, customers, and practitioners will all have different questions, requirements, and levels of familiarity with medical terminology. Anticipate those needs with different sections on your site.
The fine print
- If your site is for a medical device, carefully consider any claims you’re making about it. You may want to have a regulatory expert review your site’s content before going live.
- For medical device websites, make sure you’re not soliciting sales if your device hasn’t gone through appropriate FDA approvals.
- Regularly check that your site meets all ADA (American with Disabilities Act) standards, which guarantee that all of your visitors can equally and comfortably access the info on your page.
Be Intentional About Your Healthcare Web Design
Designing a website for a healthcare practice is profoundly different from creating a site for any other business. It’s crucial to be thoughtful about healthcare web design and keep abreast of all rules, regulations, and laws. Buddy Web Development and Design has worked with medical practices to build HIPAA and ADA compliant websites that meet the diverse needs of patients and providers.
We take pride in the work we do, and in being great to work with. If you’re ready to chat about designing or updating your healthcare website, please reach out to us via our contact form here, or email us at info@BuddyWDD.com