10 Must-have CMS Features for Healthcare Organizations

Changing CMS platforms

Selecting the right CMS for your organization is an important decision. The platform you choose can either help or hinder your internal team’s efficiency. Its ability to integrate can make or break your other martech-stack investments. And at the end of the day, the features and functionality it offers changes the experience your site visitors have on your site.

According to Geonetric’s recent 2020 Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends Survey, 25% of healthcare provider respondents indicated they recently completed a platform change, are in the middle of a change, or are in the planning stages.

In that same survey, the respondents listed core capabilities such as a provider directory along with conversion opportunities in the form of bill payment and appointment scheduling as the most important features of healthcare websites. Video visits and other features that enable telehealth continue to gain importance. Up-and-coming capabilities — such as chatbots, mobile apps, and Alexa Skills — are not currently seen as important components of healthcare digital experiences.

10 must-have features for hospitals, health systems, and medical clinics

Let’s review some of the must-have features that are the foundation of impressive digital experiences in healthcare, looking deeper at capabilities survey respondents mentioned, as well as the administrative features that make doing the work easier.

1. Intuitive content editor

How important a content editor is to your team may depend on the skillsets of your individual team members as well as how many different teams will be adding content. Choosing an easy-to-use content editor makes it stress-free for any content administrator — from novice to expert — to find, author, edit, preview, and publish web pages. Be sure your solution allows you to easily create pages on the fly without extensive HTML knowledge.

2. Strong workflow features

Governance is key to a successful CMS platform. Content needs to be reviewed for accuracy, and organizational protocols need to be respected in terms of reviews, approvals, and change notifications. Be sure to find a CMS that offers sophisticated workflow management and permissions that allow you to share the work of creating quality content while maintaining control over brand standards.

3. Robust provider directory

There’s a reason the provider directory was the number one feature listed in terms of importance in the Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends Survey. According to McKinsey & Company, 84% of health consumers view digital solutions as the most effective way to search for a doctor. If you can select a CMS that already has a built-in provider directory with all the necessary features, you’ll be one step ahead. If not, you’ll want to ensure you are integrating with, or building from scratch, a sophisticated provider directory.

Regardless of whether it’s built-in or being built, be sure your provider directory: integrates with your credentialing system; offers provider search; allows you to build engaging provider profiles that display insurance accepted and other important details consumers use in making decisions; adds Schema.org markup to profiles; and, of course, offers ratings and reviews integration.

4. Other healthcare-specific modules and directories

Although provider directories top the list of must-have features and functionality, a good web experience helps consumers find the content they need regardless of how they start searching. That why other core directories such as locations, services, and calendar and events are also important. Outside of directories, be sure your CMS solution also offers other modules and functionality, such as wait-time indicators and clinical trials.

5. Dynamic content and personalized experiences

Creating customized experiences is a popular trend among healthcare marketers, but according to our research, personalization on the web still lags behind email and print as an area in which marketers are actively investing. Although only a small percentage of respondents said they are personalizing content — predominantly around geography-based personalization — those that are doing so are finding it successful.

As you evaluate solutions, you’ll want to ensure they will support your needs if you decide to offer personalization based on geography or user behavior. What’s most important is that your CMS offers a way to put site visitors on a path to a conversion point (schedule an appointment, etc.) through the use of dynamic content. For example, Geonetric’s VitalSite platform offers personalization panels that connect provider, service, location, and calendar and events directories — as well as any other pieces of structured content on your site — and cross-promotes the information your site visitors need, regardless of how they navigate your site.

6. Flexibility and scalability

The makeup of your organization today might look a lot different in the future — mergers and acquisitions are on the rise. Healthcare mergers and acquisitions had a record year in 2018, up 14.4% from 2017. 2019 and 2020 were also very active years in terms of merger and acquisition activity, although the disruptions caused by COVID-19 certainly impacted the second half of 2020.

Regardless, today’s healthcare marketers need a platform that will accommodate the acquisition of a new medical clinic or hospital on the fly. From easily adding new doctors to the provider directory to folding in new facilities into the location directory to managing multiple sites under one platform with one login, make sure your CMS is scalable and offers multi-site support.

7. Healthcare-level security — in forms, too

Healthcare organizations are held to high standards when it comes to security due to protecting personal health information. Make sure the solutions you are evaluating incorporate high-level security that controls access to content, uses a role-based security model, automatically encrypts sensitive information, and meets HIPAA compliance standards.

Forms are another important aspect to consider when looking at your CMS solutions as they are the critical conversion point for site visitors indicating they’d like to engage with your organization. Make sure your CMS offers a way for you to easily create, manage, and deploy online forms and enable workflows that follow HIPAA-compliant submissions best practices.

8. Integrations

Your website is only one piece of an ever-evolving martech stack that usually includes a customer relationship management (CRM) system, eCommerce solution, and marketing automation or email platform — all of which are likely big investments for your organization. Make sure your potential solution integrates with your existing technology stack to ensure you can deliver the best possible experience on your site and share data between systems.

9. Built-in SEO

Some optimization efforts are on-page — how you develop content to align with searchers’ queries. But some of it is technical and comes down to how your CMS is built. If you’re not careful, the platform you choose could hold you back. Look for a solution that aids your efforts with built-in search engine optimization (SEO) functionality such as Schema.org physician and location markup, canonical URLs, and metadata. Just the way your site is coded impacts page speed, a ranking indicator, so be sure you choose a CMS that is thoughtful about SEO.

10. Evolving platform

Too often, after a large investment in a new platform, it can quickly become outdated. Be sure to invest in a system that is being invested in, especially in this fast-moving digital world where small changes to a Google algorithm can have big impacts on your rankings if your platform doesn’t comply. (Schema.org markup, anyone?)

Although Geonetric builds websites on multiple platforms, our own propriety system, VitalSite, regularly gets new features and functionality, and our clients receive those at no additional costs.

Choosing the right platform for your organization

There’s so much more to think about as well when it comes to choosing a platform, including accessibility and analytics, but evaluating your CMS options by these 10 features (at a minimum) will help set you up for success today and in the future.

If you’d like to learn more about our VitalSite CMS solution, be sure to schedule a demo, or contact us to learn about how we can help you on other solutions such as WordPress, Drupal, or Sitecore.

If you’re still not sure what platform is right for you, reach out. We’ve helped healthcare organizations pick the right CMS for them based on their unique needs, team skillsets, and technology stack — and we’d be happy to help your organization evaluate potential solutions.

4 Tips to Take the Headache Out of a Web CMS Change

For many hospitals and health systems, their CMS is out of date and the path to an upgrade is complicated. For others, their tool isn’t user-friendly and requires too much dependence on I.T. or a web vendor. Regardless, it’s a headache – and an opportunity.

Make the most of this chance to reevaluate the digital experience you want to put forward and vet new platforms and partners that can help you get there more effectively. Discover the top four things to look for in a new platform – and partner – that will help you find the right path forward

4 Tips for a smooth web CMS transition

When you entered into your current partnership and selected your current platform, you had high expectations the investment would go smoothly for years to come. Yet, here you are – on a legacy CMS with no clear upgrade path and maybe even an unsympathetic vendor.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Tip #1: Find a platform with proven upgrade history and active roadmap

CMS platforms must be continually invested in to keep up. Remember, your CMS should keep up with everything from changes in consumer behavior to algorithm updates from search engines like Google. Ask how many major and minor software upgrades there have been in the last year and a brief overview of what they were.

Also, ask to see a roadmap. It will help you to understand where the software is going and that there is a team actively working on enhancements. It’s also critical to ensure you don’t find yourself on a platform with no future.

Bonus: As you evaluate potential CMS systems, be sure future software updates aren’t an additional cost. Ask what the upgrade process looks like – will there be downtime? How does client feedback get incorporated into upgrades?

Tip #2: Confirm ease of use

If your marketing team can’t easily and quickly make edits without the help of a programmer or I.T. team, your platform can quickly become a burden. Make sure you select a platform that allows your team to easily:

  • Make content edits
  • Add videos and images
  • Spin up new pages
  • Update SEO data
  • Add documents
  • Change out banner images
  • And other common tasks you have to keep up for your website

If you can’t do these things on-team, you may end up spending valuable budget dollars on easy edits, or waiting for other teams to prioritize your work.

Bonus: Ask about training. With large healthcare organizations supporting dozens of content contributors – many of whom are often in different locations – it’s crucial to ensure there are training opportunities for your team and assets to help you onboard other users.

Tip #3: Make them prove their “proven” implementation process

When you sell a platform and plan of action internally, your reputation is on the line. You have a vested interest in making sure that the project gets done on-time and on-budget. The implementation phase of a platform change – and often site redesign – can take weeks, months, or even years. Know what you are getting into ahead of time by asking for a sample timeline for a project of your scope.

Some helpful questions that will help you get a sense of just how experienced they really are:

  • Have you done this for healthcare organizations with similar scope? (Ex: bringing microsites into the main site, building a provider directory, etc.)
  • Have you migrated from my current platform to this one?
  • Do you have experience with the type of APIs we need? (ex: credentialing systems)

Bonus: Don’t be afraid to ask for references. When you contact those references ask specific questions around implementation.

Tip #4: Ask about support – during implementation and beyond

The technology you decide to go with is obviously important, but the support around that change is a critical part of the re-platforming process. Pick a partner who will take the burden off your team and reduce stress throughout the project.

Look for a partner who will take a long-term view. Implementation partners who are only there for part of the journey might be fast to launch, but they don’t stick around for the long-term to make sure the platform actually works past go-live. They certainly won’t be there as you build on that new platform foundation to support more complex patient journeys.

Bonus: Asking for some common stats can also help you compare. For example, what’s the average client tenure? Or, are there client satisfaction scores the company can share? At Geonetric, many of our healthcare clients have been with us for over a decade. And in our last client satisfaction survey (2021) 80% of our clients gave us a 5.65 overall rating out of 6. These are numbers and stats we actively share and keep updated. Ask your potential vendor for stats like these to see what you can expect.

See a CMS change as an opportunity

Switching platforms can be a burden – but you can use the need to upgrade platforms to also advance digital strategy. At the end of the day, the technology you select is essential, but it’s also only part of the puzzle. If you can find a platform and a partner that meet your needs, you can truly build a reimagined web presence that lives up to its potential.

At Geonetric, we’re known for our healthcare-specific CMS, VitalSite. But our expert designers, developers, and project managers have proven experience implementing on multiple platforms, including Sitecore, WordPress, and Drupal – delivering the strategic support after go-live that’s key to success. Reach out if you’d like to see a demo of our CMS, learn about other platforms we support or talk about digital strategy needs.

Healthcare Digital Marketing: Staffing Outlook

Every year when we embark on our Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends Survey, we do a deep dive into staffing. From team sizes, to team structure, to top areas for staffing investments, healthcare marketers are hungry for data on how their teams stack up.

Healthcare digital marketing teams

Understanding staffing needs and what skill sets need to be represented on a team are imperative to digital marketing success. It’s important to note as you review this data, respondents were self-selected into the roles of leader, average, and laggard, based on how they responded to the question: “Are you ahead or behind your competitors?” across 21 functional areas including website design, social media, and digital advertising.

Let’s see what this year’s data says and healthcare digital marketing teams – and how it compares to past years.

Average team size

When looking at mean team sizes, leaders have 19 full-time equivalents (FTEs), average organizations have 13 FTEs, and laggards have 8 FTEs. And, while it’s important to note leaders tend to be bigger organizations, these size differences account for only a portion of the differences in team sizes.

bar graph showing variations in team size

This is similar to 2019 results where leaders had the largest teams with 20 FTEs while average organizations reported 11 FTEs, and laggards reporting 9.25 FTEs.

Although bed size isn’t always the most meaningful way to compare organizations, it does give a basis to evaluate team sizes and it was one we used in 2019. Overall, teams had a median size of 3.5 FTEs per 100 beds.

Team structure

For the majority of respondents – 51% – digital marketing is most often integrated into a centralized marketing function. When that doesn’t happen, digital marketing is most likely to be a standalone team (32%) or live on a team that is distributed by facility or region (8%).

That question wasn’t asked in 2019, but we did ask about department ownership. Across all respondents, the person charged with guiding digital marketing tactics most likely lives in the marketing department. Outside of marketing, the percentages vary. Within the C-suite, executives from communications, I.T., and finance can play significant roles.

Top staffing areas for growth

Overall, email and marketing automation and video production have the highest planned net increase in staffing.

However, looking at each unique segment tells a different story. Leaders are investing in digital advertising, digital strategy, mobile app development, and SEO. Average organizations are investing in marketing automation, CRM, intranets, digital strategy, and content marketing. Laggards are focusing on hiring more in the areas of video production, website management, content development, and CRM.

chart showing the net increase and decrease in staffing

The single biggest area of growth for 2019 by a wide margin was digital advertising, followed by digital strategy, video production, content marketing and development, and CRM.

Outsourcing trends

When looking at areas organizations overall are most likely to outsource, web hosting and web development top the list followed by digital advertising and web design. Areas where leaders are more likely to outsource than their average and laggard counterparts include local search or business listing management and content marketing.

In 2019, efforts most likely to be outsourced were digital advertising (including paid social and search), web design, web development, and web hosting. It was also noted in 2019 that leaders tended to outsource more than their average and laggard counterparts in the areas of mobile app development, email or marketing automation, analytics, local search, and business listing management.

Download the full results

Staffing is just a small snippet of the data available in the full report. Download it today and learn more about how digital marketing in healthcare gets done.

If you’re reading this and upset your team is much smaller than your peers, we’d love to help. Many clients use us as an extension of a lean internal marketing team and our subject matter experts will make sure your digital marketing tactics are setting you up for success.

And if you have ideas on survey questions you want included next year or you want to be part of our popular Advisory Board, drop a line to hello@geonetric.com with the subject line, “Digital Marketing Survey.”

Creating an Editorial Calendar for Healthcare Marketers

Editorial calendars keep busy healthcare marketing teams on track

Editorial calendars help you define and control the process of creating content, from idea generation through writing and publication and even into promotion. It keeps everyone on track and gives transparency to the content creation process.

But just as no two hospitals are exactly alike, neither are two editorial calendars. What works for your team won’t necessarily work for others – and that’s true of both the format of your calendar and the information you include.

Popular editorial calendar formats for healthcare marketing teams

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to editorial calendars – as a quick Google search will confirm. Many of the marketing teams we work with here at Geonetric rely on Excel. It’s free, already on your computer, and pretty customizable. Other popular formats include Trello (what our internal marketing team uses), Google Docs, and Google Calendar. There are certainly paid options available, but we’ve also seen teams have success simply using a printed calendar and Post-It notes.

If you’re new to building an editorial calendar, start with something easy to use and free. Build it and start using it. Then you can see where the limitations are and find something else if it’s not working.

Structuring your calendar

Not sure how to organize your calendar? You can always organize it the way you currently work — which often is by month. This works well if you tend to develop content around events – such as monthly health observances, new doctor hires, offline campaigns, or events your organization sponsors.

Or, consider organizing by topic clusters – especially if you are taking advantage of this strategy on your website. When you organize your site by topic cluster, such as service line, it can help you rank higher in search engine results pages and provide a more organized user experience.

Remember, the key is to see your calendar as a living document that needs updated regularly. You know things are going to change. Make sure you use your calendar like a map; you can see where you going but you’re able to change directions as new opportunities emerge.

Important elements of an editorial calendar

Regardless of what format your calendar takes, here are some fundamental fields that should be included:

  • Audience – Who is the primary audience for this topic? If you have personas developed, you could list the primary (and possibly secondary) persona this content asset speaks to.
  • Date – This could include date assigned and date due, or just the date it will be published.
  • Topic – For healthcare marketers, the topic could tie back to which service line this asset is supporting, such as maternity, cancer, heart, or primary care.
  • Content type – Is it a blog post, infographic, patient story, video, checklist, etc.?
  • Keywords – Before writing, be sure you are gathering keyword research from places like Moz’s Keyword Explorer so you can optimize your content for both search engines and people. Don’t forget to consider local keywords, too.
  • Headline – The famous David Ogilvy quote still holds true: “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” Make sure to align the title with keywords for SEO.
  • Lead – Including a benefit-driven, engaging lead is a great way to ensure your message strategy for the asset transfers to other channels, such as in an email. If you include a word or character count, the lead can easily be used in social media outlets, making promotion a snap.
  • Cross-linking – Do you mention specific providers, locations, service lines, or health library information? If so, be sure to be thoughtful about cross-linking and keeping the reader engaged on your site.
  • Author – Capture who will have the byline, which is especially important if your team is ghostwriting for providers or other subject matter experts.
  • Owner – Include this field if someone other than the author is responsible for keeping the content moving through the process. This is comment when doctors or service-line teams are authoring content but a marketing team member is responsible for ensuring it is finalized.
  • Status – This field would be updated as the content progresses from in progress to review to done.
  • Call to action – What do you want your reader to do? Sign up for a tour? Make an appointment? Share their story? Identifying the next step – and ensuring it’s trackable – will help your team determine the success of your content.

Sample editorial calendar and taking your calendar to the next level

Ready to use what you’ve learned so far? Here’s a sample of a healthcare editorial calendar using many of these fields to use as a starting place.

But remember, this is just the beginning of what you could cover in your calendar. For example, take the above foundation to next level by also including:

  • Stage of the patient journey – If you’re recording the content type, you can also map where that asset is likely to be used in the healthcare customer journey. For example, a patient story is most likely to be used by someone in the evaluation phase.
  • Opportunities to repurpose – Creating a content machine often means repurposing content. What other ways can that blog post be used? Can that interview with your cardiologist become a heart healthy checklist or infographic? Can part of that patient testimonial video become a blog post?
  • Existing content – An editorial calendar doesn’t have to just include content that will be created in the future. Plug in existing content, especially content that performs well, and think about how you can re-purpose or refresh it.

Prove your content’s value by tying to organization goals and tracking success

As you already know, most organizations are investing in content marketing. But many of those same organizations that are reporting their efforts aren’t necessarily producing a return on investment. In fact, this study reported that 69 percent of healthcare organizations use content marketing, but only 28 percent feel their efforts are “very effective.”

How do you make those investments pay off? Be sure the content you’re investing in aligns with broader organizational goals. For example, if your organization prioritized increasing volume to a certain service line, you’ll want to focus content efforts on that service line.
As mentioned earlier, it’s also essential to ensure you have a call to action in your content, which can be an online form or a trackable phone number. This ties the visitor experience back to the end goal.

Another way to prove value is to record your rankings for valuable keywords before you publish content and then again a few months later. Rankings you can achieve organically can save money, especially if that’s traffic you are currently buying through paid search advertising.

Happy content marketing

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when starting an editorial calendar for your healthcare marketing team. From format to elements to tracking success, a lot goes into a successful content marketing effort.

Don’t get overwhelmed by how big or complex your editorial calendar could become – especially if you’re a multi-hospital system or considering integrating other types of content such as email campaigns, print magazines, media, health observances, etc. Start small and build on it as your team and processes become more sophisticated.

Looking for other tips as you develop a content marketing plan? Check our Content Marketing for Healthcare guide.

What These Award-Winning Hospital Marketing Campaigns Have in Common

Check out these recent healthcare digital-advertising campaigns and see how investments in keyword research paid off in results — and recognition.

*Author’s Note: Due to the popularity of this post I’ve updated it with a new example.

2021 Award-winning Healthcare Advertising Campaign

Best practices around digital advertising continue to evolve each year. See how this award-winning campaign uses paid campaigns to generate appointments and awareness.

Wayne UNC Health Care

Wayne UNC Health Care, a nationally-recognized affiliate of UNC Health Care, used eye-catching and awareness-building campaigns throughout social media, Spotify, and other streaming services to promote their new mammogram technology and support breast cancer awareness month.

screenshots of facebook ads for wayne unc health care

Wayne UNC Health Care’s creative digital ads won Platinum for the eHealthcare Leadership Award for Best Integrated Marketing Campaign. The focus of each campaign was that one in eight women receive a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime and the benefits of early detection.

audio ad for wayne unc health

Campaign messaging also highlights the new, innovative technology at Wayne UNC Health Care using their brand voice as an effective way to generate engagement throughout their demographic and geographic target audience.

2018 Award-winning Healthcare Advertising Campaign

Each year gives us new strategies to take advantage of online and this year was no different. Check out this award-winning campaign that leveraged advanced ad types.

Owensboro Health

When Owensboro Health, Owensboro, KY, began construction on three Healthplex outpatient facilities in their region, they needed to build awareness for the convenient access and wide range of services available.

Before the grand openings, Owensboro Health focused on building awareness through a Google Ads paid text campaign.

After each of the facilities opened in mid-January 2018, the campaign transitioned to a conversion-focused paid search campaign. The campaigns used a variety of paid tactics, including ad extensions and call-only ads.

One tactic included using an advanced Google Ads feature called dynamic keyword insertion. This technique dynamically updates ad text to include selected keywords that also matches a user’s search query. In the image below, you can see the search query was dynamically added to the headline.

This web advertising campaign took home a Platinum Award from MarCom in the digital media – PPC category.

2017 Award-winning Hospital Campaigns

Let’s take a look back at previous award winners as well.

Pella Regional Health Center

Pella Regional Health Center began offering a lung cancer screening and wanted to fill their appointment books. The Iowa-based health center turned to Geonetric to build and optimize display and text ads and run a five-month campaign.

The campaign not only increased appointments, it also received a Gold Award for Best Marketing Campaign from the eHealthcare Leadership Awards.

Concord Hospital

Concord Hospital, Concord, NH, wanted to build awareness and increase appointment requests for its Center for Urologic Care. Together we developed a targeted pay-per-click campaign that used ads across Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Bing. We not only performed keyword research around the top conditions, we also worked with Concord Hospital to share best practices on the consumer journey, ensuring an optimized experience from ad to landing page to conversion.

In three months, the ads drove 9,750 visits to the landing page, resulting in 17 appointment requests. This campaign received an Honorable Mention in the Web Advertising Campaign category of the MarCom Awards.

The Right Partner

What else do these campaigns have in common? Their digital agency. Geonetric manages comprehensive, multi-channel digital advertising campaigns for hospitals and health systems that do more than win awards — they deliver real results. Check out more of our campaign work and then give us a call.

Healthcare Marketers: 5 Things to Look for in a Drupal Partner

Whether you’re part of the group that’s currently on Drupal and are looking to redesign, or you’re considering Drupal for your upcoming platform change, there’s a lot to keep in mind when choosing the right partner.

Experience in Healthcare and Strategy are Keys To Success

There are many Drupal developers out there. In fact, the Drupal community is one of the largest in the world, boasting over 1M members. But not all are created equal – especially when it comes to building a website for a hospital, health system, or medical clinic. Here are five qualities to look for in your next partner that will help sure your redesign success.

  1. Healthcare experience. Prospective patients expect very specific functionality on hospital websites, from provider directories to event calendars. It’s important to find a partner that can build the modules you need, and keep them up to date. You can’t afford to take risks when it comes to HIPAA and PCI compliance – one missed encryption could put you in violation, which is bad for your brand and your bottom line.
  2. Object-oriented PHP developers. When interviewing developers or agencies, be sure to ask about PHP experience, particularly object-oriented PHP experience. There has been a big shift in the development world toward object-oriented programming, and it’s not a skillset every developer has. This is of particular importance if you are planning to build on Drupal 8, which has embraced object orientation.
  3. Sophisticated content strategy expertise. Content strategy is important to all healthcare websites, regardless of what CMS they’re built on. You need to partner with an agency that will help you organize your site content in a way that clearly reflects your site visitor’s objectives, and build out the information architecture in Drupal. In our experience, Drupal’s content model can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the platform. If you work with an experienced strategist that can help you see the long-term vision before you start adding content into Drupal, it will help in the long run.
  4. Structured content experience. One of Drupal’s greatest assets is the way it manages with structured content, the concept of organizing and treating digital content like modular data. Structured content becomes especially important for healthcare websites that want to optimize user experience through personalization. But structured content gets complicated quickly. Be sure to ask potential partners about their experience with metadata, taxonomy, dynamic content, microdata, and Schema.org.
  5. Long-term partnership. There are Drupal implementers, and there are Drupal partners. We often hear from healthcare marketers who inherited a Drupal site and just can’t maintain it – even with a Drupal developer on staff. Drupal sites can be quite amazing, but they are also big and complex. Make sure you pick an agency that will be there to support you after go-live, especially if you’ve had custom modules built that will require updates and security patches.

Choosy Healthcare Marketers Choose Proven Healthcare Experience

Since the platform is open source, you’ll find many agencies around the country that have developers familiar with Drupal on staff. Just remember having a developer who is familiar with Drupal isn’t the same as having a team that understands the inherent complexity of healthcare websites.

In our experience, the most successful Drupal sites not only have an external, healthcare-experienced partner, they also have at least one team member in-house with Drupal experience that can assist with day-to-day changes.

Regardless of what direction you decide to go, don’t take chances. Hire – or partner with – developers who have proven experience in healthcare.

Humanizing Doctors: How to Effectively Promote Physicians Online

As a healthcare marketer, helping health consumers make that connection with a doctor is important – but far from easy! And doing it on a website can be even more difficult. How do you showcase a doctor’s personality online in an authentic way? The key is to humanize the doctor.

Humanize the doctor

Just thinking about physicians makes a person envision white coats and sterile environments. Your mind is flooded with images of cold metal tables, getting poked and prodded, and you might even experience the feelings of being scared or anxious.

These are the exact thoughts and feelings you don’t want your health consumers to feel when looking for a new family doctor or specialist! The notion of humanizing medicine has been around for a while and works to combat that sterile, clinical feeling. The concept focuses on compassionate care and creating a real partnership between the doctor and patient. Instead of a business relationship, it’s a personal relationship and one that plays an important role through any health journey.

With so much of the condition and doctor research taking place online today, it’s important to take steps to humanize your doctors on your website.

Create powerful online provider profiles

Offering compelling and engaging online provider profiles is one of the best ways to showcase your doctors in a unique and genuine way.

PIH Health in Whittier, CA, does an excellent job using its online doctor profiles to create a compelling snapshot of its providers, helping site visitors get a real feel for what it would be like to partner with that doctor.

The key to success for PIH Health’s profiles is the way it shares useful information while still providing a personal touch.

As you can see in this example, site visitors are greeted with a smiling, professional image and immediately get a sense of the doctor. An engaging biography shares relevant educational and specialty information, while also providing personal details that help a site visitor identify and connect with the doctor.

A health consumer may or may not choose a doctor based on where they did their residency. But knowing that doctor also has two kids and likes the Lakers – well now those are things a potential patient can relate to! PIH Health’s profile also includes important office and location information, helping the site visitors determine if this doctor’s office is in the right part of the city for them.

As you scroll down, the profile shares more relevant information – like specialties, languages spoken, education, and certifications – and also includes a video, the pièce de résistance.

Bring the profile to life with video

Nothing brings a doctor to life online better than a well done video. PIH Health has recorded videos of its doctors sharing their practice philosophies. The videos are short in length – only two or three minutes, but go a long way to showcasing the doctor and his or her bedside manner.

So far 64 of the organization’s doctors have recorded videos and those videos average 1,150 views a month.

Now not every doctor wants to be in front of the camera, but every doctor does want to fill their schedules, so you can make the case why this is a great investment. Plus, the content marketing opportunities with a great doctor video are endless.

Have the right provider directory as your foundation

Compelling profiles are key to connecting doctors and site visitors, but having a sophisticated provider directory running behind those profiles is key to managing and presenting all that doctor data online.

Check out how PIH Health uses our VitalSite Provider Directory to deliver detailed profiles, offer impressive search capabilities, and effectively cross-promote doctors across the site.

One Tip That Will Improve Your Hospital’s Content Marketing Efforts

Treat questions like currency.

A great channel for figuring out what kind of content your audience wants to consume is right in front of you: your patients. They have questions. Lots of questions. I’m a mom of two boys and I can easily think back to a few questions I’ve had lately….

  • “How do I tell if it’s a cold of the flu?”
  • “Fevers: when do I take my child to the ER?”
  • “Why antibiotics aren’t always the answer.”
  • “Five myths about flu shots.”

Figure out a way to capture the questions your patients ask. You could collect them from social media accounts, ask nurses at your clinics to share frequently asked questions, or internvew atual patients. Then, develop content that answers those questions.

This positions your hospital as an expert and a resource, and developing content that many people would like to consum will add to its shareability factor.

More Content Marketing Tips

The thing about content marketing is – it sounds new and time consuming. But chances are, you’re already doing a lot of content marketing at your hospital. Creating useful content is something you’ve likely been doing for years. This new emphasis on content marketing should help you think about your efforts in new ways and hopefully keep it top of mind.

For more tips on content marketing, be sure to check out this webinar.