We’ve seen tremendous advances in recent years with technology and practices in the healthcare space. Yet, the digital presence of some of the most prominent and well-known organizations in the field just aren't keeping pace. Why is this the case and what can be done to change it?
We envision a better future for all those involved with accessing and managing digital healthcare solutions. Join us as we explore how these changes might come about.
Healthcare is a basic and core need. Given this, and all the advances we’re seeing in web and digital technology, it’s easy to assume that access to both information and providers for health-related issues has become that much simpler as well.
However, this simply isn't the case. Widespread issues and challenges, some of which we discuss below, continue to affect a significant proportion of digital healthcare applications and websites today.
The enhancements made to these solutions over the years are few and far between. They are usually based on internal priorities, without much importance given to the value being provided to the end user or to the end-to-end experience.
Typically, there is a whole world of specialties and sub-specialties in each healthcare/medicinal field, or complex internal structures within these healthcare organizations. This is then duplicated on the website in the form of tons of information, competing pathways to data, and a complicated information architecture (IA). The result is experiences and user journeys that are not streamlined or easy to comprehend, which makes it hard to remain oriented on these sites or find desired information quickly.
These organizations look outward too much to others in the space and what they’re doing rather than focusing on the needs of their specific target audiences. Over time, this results in solutions that mirror one another and present the same challenging experiences to their visitors.
These websites include integrations with a host of different systems including patient information, billing, asset management tools, etc. It’s not uncommon for a given solution to have 10+ critical integrations and each one can be complex, requiring significant attention to detail. Often, they are created in isolation and there is no single point of oversight or comprehensive strategy that covers all integration points and the data that flows back and forth.
As these solutions are updated and new platforms are added to the mix, the teams that manage them aren't provided with the appropriate training, numbers, or upgraded skill sets to manage these tools effectively. Consequently, the full value of these solutions cannot be properly harnessed, which ultimately reduces their ROI.
The people that these platforms cater to – the patients, their families and friends, and others affected - are far ahead of the digital healthcare system. They’re well-versed with using the latest technology (wearables, apps, etc.) to regulate their lives and track various metrics related to their personal health. So how can we get the digital presence of these larger healthcare organizations to keep up and meet the needs of these evolving users?
At Velir, we have a passion for creating digital experiences that help make people’s lives easier and that improve the way organizations connect with their audiences. We aim to disrupt these dated experiences and get them to an improved state where there’s a focus on providing real value to target audiences. And we have proven ideas on how this can be the new reality for the healthcare space.
We have a rich history of working on a variety of content-rich and information-based digital solutions for non-profits, associations and corporate enterprises, specifically related to the field of healthcare. We believe that the challenges these organizations face with their digital presence are important and cannot be ignored.
In identifying solutions, we approach the issues by considering the needs of not only the People that visit these sites and applications, but also the staff behind the scenes at these Organizations that manage these solutions. We believe that the solutions should put the end user at ease regarding their personal health issues rather than cause more stress, and should also be easy to manage and put into effect. So, let's look at how this can be done.
Conduct user research to identify why people are visiting your site and what they're looking for (it could be to find a doctor/hospital, information on a specific illness/disease, etc.). Next, prioritize these needs and devise strategies for creating the most compelling and impactful ways to fulfill them.
Streamline your content strategy, information architecture, and user journeys. Base your site's navigation on intuitive, user-friendly terms, rather than on internal structures or terminology. Ensure that all of your sites present a consistent, modern, and visually appealing user experience and brand.
Healthcare is very personal. Therefore, there is a strong case for personalizing digital healthcare experiences, while still adhering to industry privacy guidelines. A comprehensive strategy for integrating the multitude of systems in your solution and their data will help identify appropriate ways to tailor the experience for each user.
Keep in mind that your applications and sites will be utilized by thousands of people with varying needs and technical aptitudes. This should be considered throughout both the design and build processes to ensure that the final products, especially any transactional functions, are as easy and intuitive to use as possible.
This is a crucial step and should be the starting point for all your digital initiatives. Make the time for an upfront strategy phase where you identify the key business drivers and goals of your project, what success will look like, and how you will measure these goals once your project launches.
Make sure that you have teams in place with the appropriate level of resourcing that is required to manage the implemented solutions effectively. Provide them with training so that they have the necessary skills sets to utilize and deploy these solutions as intended.
Conduct an inventory of all your sites and identify which are duplicates or obsolete. These can likely be consolidated or eliminated to present a less confusing experience for your target audiences, while also reducing the administrative workload of the teams that manage these sites.
Identify where there’s redundancy and simplify your back-end workflows. Standardize these workflows and set them up, along with the necessary rules and permissions, in your site's content management system (CMS) to empower your teams to be as efficient as possible.