Posted on 10/25/2021 in Digital Marketing

By Tim Hawkins

Healthcare websites face a unique balancing act of simultaneously conveying patient comfort and clinical prestige. If it’s done right, a website overhaul can improve your patient relationships and your business.

I’ve designed many healthcare websites over the years, and I’ve come to understand that these organizations face an unusual balancing act.

On one hand, your patients want a warm and comforting environment. They want to feel cared for by the best and kindest people. On the other hand, you also want to project an image of medical leadership and advanced technology. Bringing these two aspects together on a website can be harder than it might seem. The warm and fuzzy patient view can sometimes be at odds with the sterile, high-tech view of the medical clinician. But by balancing the two properly and keeping a few key ideas in mind, there’s no reason why your website can’t speak to everyone.

Here are 6 ideas to help you find the right balance and build a successful healthcare website.

1 - Create separate sections for patients and clinicians.
One way to separate your stories is to create two different sections in your website, one for patients and one for medical professionals. This makes it easy to create the content and atmosphere you want for each audience. For example, the patient section could focus on the experience that people have when they come to your facility, with friendly and inviting pictures. Meanwhile, the clinician section can have details about the medical equipment, lab technology, staff accomplishments, and career opportunities. This kind of clear division between your two stories is not always needed, but if you want to place a strong emphasis on both sides this may be the best solution.

2 - Offer information in layers.
Another option is to have one website for both audiences but offer the information in layers. In this approach, you could put your patients front-and-center with a photo and testimonial, and then include a link for clinicians to drill down and learn more about the staff and medical equipment involved. If you want to keep your site simpler, you can accomplish something similar on a single page. For example, you could feature the patient view for most of the page but include a sidebar for the medical professional. There’s no one right answer; which option works best will depend on your unique situation and goals.

3 - Balance your color palettes.
Color selection is important in any website design but it’s especially important here. Warm colors like red and orange tend to feel inviting while cool colors like blue and gray can have a clean, sterile feel. This difference aligns well with the two audiences that healthcare providers want to reach. I recommend choosing a color palette that includes both warm and cool tones and then balancing them as needed for each page or section. In the case of a split website as in number 1 above, you might want cool colors on the clinician pages with touches of warm accents and the opposite balance for the patient pages. 

4 - Keep it human. 
This almost goes without saying but it’s so important that I’ll say it anyway. Your website should have a human touch, and not just on the home page. Even a page about an advanced piece of medical technology can include a person. It could be a close-up photo of a physician along with a relevant quote, or a photo of the equipment in use, or staff talking in the hallway. Language is important too. Your website copy in the patient sections should be friendly and inviting, very easy to read, and focused on the patient experience. What do they need? What do they care about? Of course, more clinical sections can be as technical as they need to be.

5 – Make your website work harder
A colleague told me a story that says it better than I can. He scheduled new-patient appointments at two different practices within days of each other. At one, he had to call by phone, arrive a half hour early, and fill out pages of paperwork using a pen he hoped was clean. Then the person behind the desk entered it all into a computer by hand. At the other practice, he scheduled his appointment and filled out all the forms online. He arrived just five minutes early to an almost empty waiting room due to the efficiency of their operation. The moral of the story: Make your website work harder; both your patients and your staff will thank you.

6 - Stay true to your brand.
Finally, and this applies to every kind of organization, stay true to your brand. Your website should reflect who you are and what your patients experience when they visit you. If you’re a network of family care centers and your offices have lots of plants and friendly people, make your website look that way too. If you’re a world-renowned surgical center and teaching hospital, you’ll probably want a website that is clean, hyper-modern, and with a sense of institutional prestige. In a word, be yourself.

Healthcare websites will always be a balancing act. But this is only a challenge, not an obstacle. By keeping both of your audiences in mind and planning your website carefully, you can create an online experience that reflects who you are and speaks meaningfully to patients and clinicians alike. You’ll have a website that helps you improve patient relations, attract the professional talent you need, and run a more successful business.

Build a successful healthcare website.

Have questions? Contact Wakefly to learn more.

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