aha! works with various large, national healthcare systems and sees the challenges they face in delivering the retail consumer experiences patients have come to expect. While we don’t have a magic wand to wave away complex, long-standing pain points instantly (yet…so stay tuned), we can partner with you to make positive changes in 2023. We based our guide on a desire to see provider appointments treated like conversions in the retail space that healthcare systems can optimize through personalization and incremental content improvements.


More Open Scheduling Initiatives

Patients expect retail-like experiences from healthcare systems, including digital self-scheduling of care provider appointments and services for patients. According to the Kyruus 2022 Patient Access Journey Report, 40% of consumers prefer online booking. In addition, half of those consumers would switch providers for the ability to schedule appointments online. This digital front-door initiative allows healthcare systems to fill appointment inventory while giving patients direct control over appointment scheduling


The patient journey to care can vary greatly, so healthcare systems should look to enable open scheduling options for more retail-like services like immunizations, wellness checkups, and mammograms. Specialist and referral appointments may be included in the self-scheduling portfolio. But we aim to start where the opportunity and need are most significant, beginning with the most regular and patient-initiated services that can lay the foundation for learning before expanding further.


Open scheduling enablement is also an opportunity to ensure analytics reporting correctly measures appointment conversions and maps to other key performance indicators. For example, with the proper measurement framework, healthcare systems can tie conversions through open scheduling to more accurate lead acquisition costs and content ROI calculations. 


More Personalized First Page Experiences

At aha! we consider every page on your site to be far more than just a page, including the homepage. Many healthcare sites overly fixate on the homepage and how to optimize its content or make it dynamic. Other equally or more valuable website pages rarely receive the same focus of time and resources. But when you stop and consider that any page is, in fact, the first page of a consumer’s journey to conversion, the perspective really must change. 

In our experience with various clients, at least half of healthcare site traffic enters through pages other than the homepage, most of which is from Google. The fact is that Google is how consumers look for help, not necessarily for you. As e-commerce has been doing online conversions for much longer and has learned far more, healthcare can learn a great deal from the retail space. If we consider doctors as our product and conversion for them being appointments, you might think that driving to a “product detail” page (a doctor profile) might be paramount. But, for example, recent data shows that, in e-commerce, category listing pages outperform product detail pages in SERPs.


Translated to healthcare, consider patient education content analogous to product category pages. A service line page and its respective treatments, conditions, and services lead us to the doctors who can deliver on the promise of the presented content. Of course, that’s a topic for a later article (which is in the works). Still, when every page becomes the first page on the conversion journey, personalization can and should become far more valuable for any healthcare organization.

While we’ve already covered the topic of personalization, and we encourage you to read more there, it’s worth revisiting. Consumers are looking for guidance on how to navigate healthcare and expect brands to recognize their needs. In healthcare experiences, such personalization can be as subtle as alternate imagery or language the consumer can connect with and see themselves represented in the system's care. 

Creating personalized content takes effort but can reap sizeable rewards. Research shows that 99% of marketers surveyed in 2020 agree that personalization “helps advance customer relationships.” So, while there is work to be done, there are most certainly benefits, and there is no reason that healthcare shouldn’t enjoy the benefits of personalization as well. 

Better Provider Photos

Updates to provider imagery are minor compared to open scheduling and personalization, but changes for the better don’t require large organizational pivots or complex process updates. Instead, sometimes you only need to set your sights on a known challenge and dig in.

We know that profile pictures matter.

According to Doximity, provider profiles with photos get twice as many views as those without them. When deciding on a provider, patients look for someone they perceive as friendly, caring, trustworthy, and professional. High-quality and consistent provider profile photos can allow those qualities to shine through. Standardizing, upgrading, and updating your provider profile photos is an excellent example of a small ongoing project that leads to real improvements.


aha! Can Help

Are you interested in improving your consumer healthcare experiences in 2023? aha! can help. Contact us.