User Research Paves the Way to Highlight Access to Care During Redesign

Connecting health care and well-being is important to Cone Health, an integrated health system in central North Carolina. They’re dedicated to helping consumers access the right care, in the right place, at the right time — through both traditional and nontraditional services.

When they set out to redesign their website with long-time partner Geonetric, one thing was clear: The new site had to help patients better understand and connect with options for in-person and virtual care.

Aligning Goals

Cone Health had recently updated its strategic plan as well as its brand promise, purpose, and vision. Its reimagined website needed to reflect, promote, and further those new goals and priorities. So they worked with content strategists at Geonetric to figure out how to align digital efforts with broader organizational initiatives.

User Behavior Analysis

Remaining true to their patient-focused values, Cone Health invested in research to better understand how users interact with their website.

Geonetric’s digital marketing, content, and design experts began by using heat mapping and web analytics to understand what existing content users engaged with and what they overlooked. Geonetric used that data, along with stakeholder feedback and industry knowledge, to recommend new information architecture (IA), homepage elements, and visual design.

To learn whether the new IA and design would resonate with users, Geonetric and Cone Health ran usability tests.

User Testing

Usability tests revealed opportunities to strengthen the new site by making small adjustments to labels, page names, and design elements.

For example, a page outlining quick-care options (such as urgent care, virtual care, and evisits) was originally labeled “Right Care, Right Place, Right Time.” Testing suggested that this label wasn’t clear to users, so the team renamed it; now the page title is “Compare Your Care Options.” Today, the page attracts significant traffic — views increased 112 percent year-over-year in the four months after launch.

Strategic Use of Homepage Space

The Geonetric team worked closely with Cone Health to create a homepage that puts the “right care, right place, right time” concept front and center.

Gone is the traditional rotating banner, which had little user engagement. Today, this valuable space helps users understand and connect with services such as urgent care, virtual care, and evisits. As users hover over each option, they see a brief explanation of the service and an arrow that invites them to click through for more details.

When users aren’t engaging with the list of services, they see a call to action (CTA) to compare all options. This CTA takes them to the “Compare Your Care Options” overview page.

The concept was well-received in usability testing. And, since the new site went live, the care options homepage element has seen steadily increasing engagement with thousands of clicks each month. Site visitors are using it to connect with all care options, but especially with newer services like evisits and video/phone visits.

Medical Group Builds Location Strategy for Strong Clinic Webpages

In a competitive market, Cone Health Medical Group knew well the importance of user-friendly location profiles optimized for search engines. That’s why the group serving North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad partnered with Geonetric for design, content, and SEO work for numerous clinics and medical offices. The goals were to:

  • Make it easier for health care consumers to make appointments
  • Improve user-engagement metrics
  • Provide a dynamic visual presence

Focused, collaborative start

CHMG launched a pilot project with four clinics, knowing early, demonstrable success was key to getting the rest of its locations on board.

After several conversations with the medical group, designers and content strategists worked together to build a page architecture that made it easy to find information about services, patient resources, appointments, address and hours of operation. Prominent images of each provider link to profiles with custom-written biographies that give a sense of personality and approach to care. Teasers promote Cone Health’s Wellness Matters content marketing hub assets relevant to each clinic’s audience. The attractive page design makes navigation intuitive on all devices.

SEO & keyword research drive recommendations

Local convenience is key for consumers — “near me” searches for health-related services have doubled since 2015. And since 30% of mobile searches are related to a location, it was vital for CHMG’s location profiles to be optimized for local search.

That’s why digital marketing experts performed keyword research to help Geonetric target each unique clinic profile to a hyperlocal audience. The agency looked at several factors, including:

  • Competitor websites
  • Existing content
  • Google search suggestions
  • Local search ranking factors
  • Questions searchers ask
  • Search volume

The research helped Geonetric develop a keyword portfolio to focus the content of each location and help CHMG stand out from the competition.

Comprehensive content

To ensure the location profiles met patients’ and consumers’ needs, Geonetric’s writers interviewed stakeholders at each clinic to:

  • Discover and communicate the benefits of choosing a particular medical office and its providers
  • Get answers to common patient questions
  • Learn how to set apart similar CHMG clinics from each other and external competitors
  • Provide thorough information about the services offered

Each location profile lives on a website with content describing the service lines available throughout all of CHMG. Clinic webpages don’t duplicate this general service-line information but rather link to it while highlighting specific services key to the individual practice.


In addition to improvements in pageviews and bounce rate, CHMG saw a dramatic increase in visits to provider profiles from location-profile visitors.

After seeing the successful performance of the first four location profiles, CHMG partnered with Geonetric to write webpages and perform keyword research for more than a dozen additional clinics. As CHMG continues to bring in additional practices, the medical group has built a solid foundation for effective web presences.

Content Hub Focuses on Wellness

An investment in a new content marketing hub met two goals for Cone Health, an integrated not-for-profit health network headquartered in Greensboro, NC. First, the organization knew they needed to find a way to increase engagement with the community beyond the moment they needed care. Second, they wanted to invest more in content marketing and improve their ability to create content once and publish everywhere. Their new content marketing hub, Wellness Matters, makes both goals a reality.

Build on the Right Platform

Before Wellness Matters, Cone Health had been producing content, but without an overarching strategy. Content previously lived on both their main website and on a different blogging platform. By partnering with their digital agency, Geonetric, the Cone Health team decided to move all the content into their main website and into the VitalSite content management system. This helped connect hub content and service line content, and had the potential for increased SEO benefits since high quality, original content would be tied to the domain.

Develop a Thoughtful Content Strategy

VitalSite comes equipped with sophisticated taxonomy structures, and Cone Health worked with the Geonetric content strategy team to develop an advanced strategy to tag content in a way that ensures all items display appropriately.

To develop these tags, our team reviewed their service lines and editorial calendar, comparing that data with Google Analytics traffic. From this research, we recommended adding high-traffic topics such as parenting, diet and exercise, and heart health. With this foundation laid out, visitors can easily search the content hub by keyword, or filter by content type (such as article, infographic, patient story, video, etc.), or sort by topic.

In addition, Geonetric’s experts provided a one-day content marketing training to the Cone Health team, sharing insights on how people consume information online, the value of different types of content formats, tips for generating ideas, and writing best practices.

Engage Site Visitors with Design

The Wellness Matters design is engaging, with card-inspired images that have interactive roll-over effects as a user moves the mouse across the content articles. An eye-catching panel that promotes the all-important call-to-action – asking site visitors to subscribe to Cone Health’s monthly newsletter. VitalSite’s SmartPanels dynamically pull in events from Cone Health’s online calendar and events module, and additional panels display feeds from Facebook and Instagram. All together, the home page brings Cone Health’s different content forms to life.

Articles appear on interior page templates that match the main site and the medical group site, giving Cone Health a place to cross-promote related services. At the end of each article, readers are presented with related topics, services, and the option to read additional content by the same expert.

Get Noticed by Site Visitors and Competition Judges

In just the last six months, the hub has had more than 23,000 unique page views. It’s an important vehicle to connect site visitors to other key areas of the site driving traffic to the newsletter subscription page as well as to events and find a doctor.

In addition, Wellness Matters was recognized for outstanding achievement in the concept, design, and production of a medical website, receiving a Gold in the 2017 MarCom competition sponsored and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

Cone Health Spotlights Medical Group Providers

That’s why Cone Health Medical Group decided to change the focus of their website and put the spotlight on their star players: their doctors and providers.

Building relationships between patients and providers

Taking a card-based design approach, they reinvented their provider search, connecting visitors with a more expansive business card-like view of physicians and providers, all while dispensing with the typical scrolling list.

Provider Search for Cone Health Medical Group

Choose a provider (such as James David Allred, MD) and you’ll see a custom profile with elements that may include a biography, areas of interest, professional memberships, board certifications, and more. Many providers also include a high-quality image in their profile.

Connecting with users through content

Along with stunning provider profiles, Cone Health Medical Group also invested in a content strategy and development project with Geonetric, receiving engaging, patient-focused content that spoke not only to the medical services they offer, but the quality of care they provide.

Provider Profiles for Cone Health Medical Group

Through the redesign, the organization continued to lay stepping stones to bring individual clinic websites under the Cone Health Medical Group umbrella.

Improving provider profiles leads to success

Investing in a quality physician directory is not only essential for effective physician marketing, but it can be a significant contributor to an organization’s bottom line. One need look no further than Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare (another Geonetric client). This forward-thinking organization recently invested in their provider directory and added user-friendly appointment forms as part of the project. The results? Their numbers soared.

With 140 primary care doctors offering online appointment requests, over 740 requests were brought in through the new system. Four hundred of those requests were new patients. This has resulted in outstanding downstream revenue for the organization.

If you’re ready to connect your providers and patients with an improved online experience, Geonetric can help. Reach out to us today and let us help you create a blueprint and a website for success.