The provider directory is one of the most challenging parts of any health system website and easily the one most likely to run you afoul of organizational politics. Everyone has an opinion and, more importantly, many doctors have an opinion. And doctors’ opinions tend to be a little louder than everyone else’s!
That said, I spend lots of time researching and testing provider directories and I’ve noticed two things that the most successful ones tend to have in common.
1. Successful provider directories use search strategically.
The way your organization uses search in your provider directory should have a lot to do with the size of your organization. In fact, creating the optimal provider directory is as much art as it is science and varies a great deal based on the size of your organization, the number of providers represented, the geographic footprint served, and the data you have available.
Let’s look at how size makes a difference when it comes to provider directory search.
Smaller medical groups like Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital offer an opportunity to streamline the experience by eliminating the need to search and making it easy to “dive deep” into the provider’s information.
Whereas the smaller groups can streamline and even eliminate search, large medical groups need options.
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare offers three different ways to search depending on what a site visitor needs. While a health system with fewer providers should keep it simple, having a large medical staff means offering ways to focus and drill down.
You may want to include ways to filter the search results you receive like they do at Abington Jefferson Health.
In addition to size, it’s important to consider the different ways visitors use your provider directory. When someone searches for a provider by name, they likely have a relationship with that provider, so take them right to the profile.
When a visitor searches by specialty, they are probably looking for a new provider. Help them evaluate options by including lots of information in the search results page.
Wheaton Franciscan does a great job showcasing what providers offer night and weekend hours.
2. Successful provider directories invest in doctor profiles.
The provider profile is a great place to humanize your doctors.
In fact, offering compelling and engaging online provider profiles is one of the best ways to showcase your doctors in a unique and genuine way. A great place to invest: doctors’ biographies.
Bios should be more than just a name and a degree. You want to give health consumers the kind information that will allow them to make a good choice.
This example from Bronson Healthcare does a great job of building out the doctor’s profile, and showcases his approach to care, credentials, and videos.
Midwest Orthopedic includes videos and other elements to showcase the doctor’s passions and skills.
One size does not fit all.
There’s no one way to build the perfect provider directory and it may take some experimentation to find the one that’s right for you. But if you focus on the two key areas of search and provider profiles, you’ll be well on your way to building a provider directory that works for your site visitors.
To learn more about promoting your physicians’ online and see more examples of great provider directories in practice, check out our eBook.