Margot Teleki, a special friend of Garden State Woman, has developed and marketed major brands in many diverse markets. She totally understands marketing and communications and is currently developing her new firm (Copywrite Marketing) to help organizations develop high impact websites. Margot recently took on the task of analyzing hospital web sites since that is one of her current undustry focuses. Following are her conclusions. The skeleton of her analysis can be useful to all of us with a web site that we expect to drive our business. Read on........
THE HOSPITAL WEB MYSTIQUE
94% of Hospital Web Sites Tend To Confuse Visitors In One Way or Another According to a Recent Study Of “Best” Hospitals
“All I wanted was to visit a friend and it took 20 minutes to find the phone number on the hospital web site,” complains Lynn L. of Morristown.
“Who’s the head of orthopedics in our local teaching hospital?” asks Sharon W. in Atlantic Highlands. ”I couldn’t find her on their web site.”
Elizabeth W. of Cherry Hill complains, “I had to contact the doctor at Johns Hopkins who performed two back surgeries on me three years ago. Web instructions were to type in the doctor’s name, so I did.“A few seconds later, the autoresponder came back. No results, yet I know he’s still there.
“Intrigued, I tried looking up another Johns Hopkins doctor who has been chair of his department for years. Again, the autoresponder responded, ‘No results.’”
Evidently the computer connect wasn’t functioning, but how would the average person know that? How would the hospital know it unless they had tested the system beforehand? Another common blooper: videos, webcasts or podcasts in which sight and sound are out of sync. Or not working, period.
To confirm what visitors claim, we asked a couple of doctors their thoughts regarding hospital web sites.
• One replied with no words and an amused grin, “No comment.”
• Another said, “It’s hard to find what I’m looking for when I need it.”
• A third commented cautiously that he finds "most hospital web sites confusing and irrelevant."
Annually U.S. News & World Report publishes a survey of top U.S. hospitals. Their 2009 analysis was based on 4,861 – 81% of all U.S. hospitals.
Each hospital is ranked according to its excellence in treating specific diseases and conditions. But the question for visitors still is “How do I find information on my local hospital’s site – fast”
ANALYSIS OF THE “BEST HOSPITAL” WEBSITES
So CopyWrite Marketing analyzed each top hospital’s web site – 200 in all – based on 20 standard criteria (according to research on how web visitors generally read and judge sites, regardless of site type). To make sure our analysis is accurate and represents a true picture, we studied over 6,000 top hospital web pages, examining each from the visitor’s standpoint, ranking each on a scale of 1 to 10 (best). Summary of 20 Criteria on Which Sites Were Evaluated
1. Can it be quickly scanned?
2. Is it clear and relevant?
3. Does it include information helpful to visitors?
4. Is it cluttered?
5. Does it lead visitors where they want to go?
6. Is it easily accessed?
7. Is it clear?
8. Does it have dropdowns that obscure text?
9. Are subjects easy to find
10. Do they overpower text on the Home Page?
11. Do they overpower text on subsequent pages?
12. Are they distracting moving images and talking heads?
13. Does the site have just the right balance to text throughout?
14. Is text meaningful and relevant?
15. Can it be clearly understood by lay people?
16. Are paragraphs short?
17. Are bullets used instead of deathless prose?
18. Is there no more than one topic per page?
19. Is the hospital address/phone number easy to find?
20. Are patient rights clearly spelled out
Actually, more than 20 criteria were used, but these are the most
Surprisingly, some hospitals don’t make basics, including address or phone number, easy to find. Or they only come into view by scrolling down a page to very light-colored, almost invisible lettering that can easily be missed.
Rankings and Grades
If you’re a mom, you wouldn’t be pleased if your kids brought home report cards with grades such as those top hospitals got.
• 9.0-10.0 – the highest. Not one hospital qualified!
• 8-8.9: Only five percent.
• 7-7.9: 31.0 percent
• Anything below 6.9 was failing – so 64.0 percent (128) of the total 200 didn’t even pass!
Five New Jersey hospitals are included in the U.S. News survey. Their grades are:
Hackensack Medical - 6.1
Kessler Institute - 7.1 (the only one with a passing grade)
Lehigh Valley Health Network - 3.9 (listed in New Jersey even though, technically, it’s in Pennsylvania)
Robert Wood Johnson - 6.9
St. Barnabas – 6.4
Since the primary source of news and information today is the Internet, it’s up to visitors (us) to pressure hospitals to improve sites that don’t provide needed information. Just mount a note on LinkedIn or YouTube for local hospital marketing directors, pressuring them to clean up their web sites and make them visitor-centric. A hospital won’t make changes unless they know what visitors find wrong, so it’s up to visitors to tell them.
Submitted by: Margot Teleki President CopyWrite Marketing Group LLC. (973) 377-8871