The rise of the smartphone can teach us a lot about hospital websites.

Not long ago, phones were indispensable business tools, but they were still simple, straightforward, and relatively low-tech. In just the past ten years, they've evolved to almost define our lives through sophisticated interactive technology that changes the way we move through the world.

During that same period, websites have been going through a similar evolution.

This shift happened so quickly and subtly that a lot of hospitals and health systems have been left playing catch up in a mobile healthcare content environment that's changing every day. If you're in that boat, keeping up with the hospital across town (the one with the amazing, interactive, mobile-optimized site) might seem impossible, but with the right tools, it really isn't.

Why History of the Website Matters
You might be tempted to jump right into your new, super-advanced, high-performance website, but to get on the right path, you need context.

You're aiming for a healthcare consumer experience that aligns with industries like retail and finance, and that takes more than an upgrade. It means treating your website like the valuable touchpoint it is by setting goals that center around consumer expectations, are agile enough to keep up with fast-changing marketing technology, and start with a strategy that will keep you ready to take on the future of healthcare consumer engagement.

To give you some perspective, we're going to take a look at just the last ten years of website trends, and four major areas where we've seen the most evolution.

Website design back in the late 00s was visually engaging but still relatively simple. Design has changed, and today's sites are minimalist, but with a rich interface that centers on the user experience. There's a good reason for this. Kissmetrics found that a full 40 percent of users won't come back to a site after they've had a bad experience.

Today's sites are all about getting the consumer exactly what they are after quickly, with easy navigation, clean lines, and focusing on the consumer experience.

A lot of hospitals are stuck in the past here, with too many basically serving as an online brochure. Today though, functionality is all about consumer desires and the ability to receive services online. With chat, self-service, and patient portals, websites are now a central element in the consumer experience.

This shift means more demand on performance and the need to optimize site functionality through decoupled architectures and cloud-based options that allow your solutions to grow with your marketing efforts.

Mobile Responsiveness
A decade ago, marketers could leave mobile as an afterthought, but today, it's safe to assume if you have a visitor, there's a good chance they're on a smart device.

But it's not just about who's engaging via mobile. A recent Google study found that today, 75 percent of mobile searches will trigger a follow-up action (like a phone call to schedule an appointment). All this means your website is continually evolving in its ability to foster engagement. Think click to call options and more.

Looking back at personalization over time provides valuable clues about how you should be answering your website questions.

Years ago, everybody who visited a website had the same experience. Now, we live in the age of personalized healthcare experiences, and that means websites that adapt content to the audience, device type, location, and even browsing behavior.

Lessons from Websites Past
Keep in mind that these trends teach an important lesson with three critical takeaways:

  • Consumer demand has evolved: Today, great websites start with understanding healthcare consumers.
  • Complexity is the norm: Leveraging (and preserving) all your amazing brand assets is much more involved, but is no longer an option.
  • Content access has changed: Creating an engaging content experience should be a central aim of your strategic goals.

All that adds up to an environment where the consumer experience is driving business strategy, and also one where hospitals need to acquire the technology capabilities to keep up. In the case of content especially, this means the right content management system (CMS).

Future-Proof Your Site with The Right CMS
Today's healthcare consumer experience is all about content.

Whether we're talking about condition-specific blog posts, physician profiles that encourage consumers to choose you as their provider, or explanations of your billing process, you need a sophisticated approach to content that leverages the power of the right CMS to reach your goals.

Your CMS should be able to smoothly and securely deliver across the (growing) range of devices that healthcare consumers use. It should also support a personalized content experience based on where they are when they're visiting, and their general behavior on your site…and it should be able to do all this without putting a ton of extra burden on your IT department.

If that seems like a far cry from what your CMS is doing for you today, this white paper is just what you need.