With 89% of patients in the US Googling their health symptoms before going to the doctor, your hospital website is essential to serving your community’s needs and providing accurate and trustworthy information.
Your website serves as a virtual front door for patients and potential visitors, providing them with essential information about the hospital’s services, specialties, and facilities. A user-friendly design instills credibility and enhances the patient experience by allowing easy access to important details, such as appointment scheduling, contact information, and directions.
To ensure your hospital’s website is doing all it can for your community, we’ve created this guide, which covers:
- Why Hospital Web Development Matters
- Features to Include in Your Hospital Website
- 7 Hospital Web Development Examples and Best Practices
- Tips for Maintaining Hospital Website Compliance
- How Kanopi’s Hospital Web Development Services Can Help
As you review this information, keep in mind that Kanopi is prepared to step in at any stage to take your hospital web development to the next level. Let’s get started!
Why Hospital Web Development Matters
Before someone goes to the doctor, they’ll likely browse through a couple of physicians, make sure they’re in their healthcare network, scroll through times for an appointment— and do it all online.
People also turn to your website to answer medical queries, get updated on recent healthcare news, donate to your institution, and access an online health portal where they can update appointments and pay bills. A well-developed site helps to:
- Craft a recognizable, highly reputable brand. If your hospital website doesn’t exist or contains outdated resources, it’s more than likely that people will take one look at it and deem your institution unreliable.
- Differentiate yourself from other hospitals. A well-designed website communicates your commitment to patient-centered care, innovation, and technology, which can set you apart from competitors.
- Build customer loyalty. To build customer/patient loyalty, your website needs to establish itself as a reliable medical web resource so that individuals can use it to make appointments, contact doctors, and pay bills.
- Offer 24-hour patient communication and information. Your website provides patients with important information and resources outside of normal office hours.
- Simplify marketing for hospital events and needs. Use your website to promote hospital events, streamline donation appeals, and attract more patients.
While it may feel daunting to get started with hospital web development, it’s a worthwhile investment. Improving your online presence is the first step toward attracting and retaining more patients.
Features to Include in Your Hospital Website
Whether someone is coming in for a quick check-up or a visit to the ER, your hospital website is an integral part of their journey. To ensure it’s serving your community to the best of its ability, your website needs these specific site features:
- A list of services
- Appointment booking
- Contact details
- Interactive advanced search functionality
- Doctor/team information
- Online chatbots
- Online payment portal
- Blog/news/press releases
- Description of departments
- Medical advice
- Feedback forms
- Hospital directions and parking information
Use these features as a checklist to ensure your website is a comprehensive resource for your patients, staff, and community members.
7 Hospital Web Development Examples and Best Practices
The best way to determine if your hospital website is up to par is to look at other successful site examples. Review these seven examples of hospital websites to inspire your own web development efforts.
1. Simple navigation: Global Brain Health Institute
The Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), an organization dedicated to protecting the world from brain disease and other health threats, wanted to ensure that visitors could easily navigate their site and locate different programs, services, and projects.
As a result, they worked with Kanopi to add a navigation bar that is logically organized and prominently placed throughout the website, so users can quickly find what they need. The site also features a fellowship directory that includes a search bar and filters. This is useful for medical students interested in pursuing a fellowship in a particular specialty, as well as for patients who want to learn more about the expertise of the hospital’s staff.
Why simple navigation is essential for hospital websites: As soon as someone lands on your hospital website, they should be able to find the content or service they seek. To ensure your site is easily navigable, consider mapping out the patient journey to better understand how people get to your site and what they do once they get there.
2. Clear CTAs: Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit academic medical center, known for its expertise in many areas of medicine and for providing high-quality care to patients. Their homepage features multiple calls to action (CTAs) that encourage visitors to schedule an appointment, donate, or learn more about a particular medical condition or procedure.
By including clear CTAs on their website, the Mayo Clinic helps visitors understand what medical services they provide, what treatments are available, and how to seek help if they need it.
Why clear calls to action matter for hospital websites: Carefully-placed CTAs let website visitors know exactly where and how to complete their intended action. As you create your own, consider the specific actions that you want visitors to take. Then, use clear and concise language to convey your purpose. For example, you might say “Schedule an Appointment Today” or “Learn More about Our Cancer Center.”
3. Consistent, bold branding: Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic is one of the top multispeciality academic medical centers in the country. To establish a strong, recognizable brand and reinforce their reputation, they included bold, eye-catching colors throughout their website.
Notice how all of the elements on their homepage are blue and green. When patients come across these colors in other mediums and materials, they’ll likely associate them with Cleveland Clinic.
Why consistency and bold branding is important for hospital websites: Consistent branding builds trust between patients and your hospital, which can be especially important in the healthcare industry where patients often have significant concerns about their health and well-being.
Adding color is a popular medical website design trend, with vivid and deep colors being sported on many successful hospital websites. Consider your site’s color palette before diving into web development to make sure your website branding is consistent throughout its pages.
4. Accessibility: Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai’s healthcare system prides itself on providing a wide range of services to diverse populations, including medical education, research, and patient care. To meet their patients’ varied needs, they prioritized creating an accessible website.
The accessibility tool in the bottom footer allows visitors to use a screen reader, navigate using their keyboards, and change the color contrast, if needed.
Why accessible design matters for hospital websites: Having an inaccessible hospital website will not only turn away those who might need your services the most but paints your entire establishment in a negative light. Because of the industry that you’re in, maintaining full compliance with the ADA and WCAG is essential. You want your entire community to feel accepted and at ease with your services, especially when it concerns medical care.
5. Inclusivity: Northwestern Medicine
Northwestern Medicine has a number of hospitals, all of which are committed to providing inclusive care to patients of all backgrounds and demographics. Maintaining an inclusive website is important for Northwestern Medicine, as it allows them to better connect with their patients and provide them with the resources and care they need.
Their Patients and Visitors page is extremely comprehensive, with CTAs that address a wide variety of concerns and questions.
Why inclusivity is important for hospital websites: Your hospital website content needs to represent the voice of all of your users, whether it’s patients, frontline workers, researchers, or caregivers.
6. Mobile-friendliness: Johns Hopkins Medicine
Johns Hopkins Medicine is known for its world-class medical facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and research centers. As a leading healthcare provider, they needed to keep up with changes in technology by creating a mobile-friendly website.
Their mobile-responsive site design allows patients to schedule appointments, access medical information, and communicate with healthcare providers, regardless of the device they’re using.
Why mobile-friendliness matters for hospital websites: With over 60% of the global internet population using a mobile device to access the internet, your hospital web design must work on all different screen sizes. For patients or families already in the hospital or waiting room, the ability to quickly look something up on their phone or tablet is critical.
Most content management systems (CMS) can create a mobile-responsive site automatically. However, there are some easy ways you can ensure your site’s responsiveness. For instance, use large buttons, a vertical layout, and avoid large chunks of text.
7. Accurate, updated information: Yale New Haven Hospital
Yale New Haven Hospital provides a wide range of medical services to its local community. As with any hospital, their website needs to provide accurate and reliable information about their services, facilities, and medical personnel. That way, patients can make informed decisions about their care.
Perhaps most notably, Yale New Haven’s homepage features emergency room wait times, informing patients where to seek care and what to expect when they arrive.
Why accurate and updated information is essential for hospital websites: When it comes to healthcare, accuracy is non-negotiable. It’s critical that your web content is consistently updated and provides the most high-quality information available.
Tips for Maintaining Hospital Website Compliance
Your hospital website will likely have multiple services that collect and store patient data, whether it’s a health portal, appointment tool, or bill payment.
With this in mind, your hospital web development practices must follow regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH):
- HIPAA is an act created by the American government that aims to protect patient data like names, phone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, and medical records.
- HITECH is an extension of the HIPAA requirements that brings additional benefits and protection to patients. This establishes that patients should always have access to their health information online, and if hospitals do have a data violation, patients should be notified immediately. Depending on the seriousness of the data breach, there are also various penalties and fees.
To ensure your website and software solutions comply with HIPAA and the HITECH Act, you need the following safeguards:
- Tech safeguards include encryption software, data backups, and firewalls. Assess the state of your current healthcare cybersecurity system to ensure you have the proper safeguards in place.
- Physical safeguards include material records or electronic devices with the aforementioned data with access granted only after the proper authorization.
- Administrative safeguards include the guidelines your hospital sets up to ensure that internal procedures comply with HIPAA.
How Kanopi’s Hospital Web Development Services Can Help
To ensure that you’re doing everything you can to take your own hospital website to the next level, partner with a website support and development agency.
Kanopi is a top partner for hospitals and has helped develop over 150 active sites thanks to our continuous improvement team. No matter what stage your hospital website is at, our team is prepared to either conduct a full website redesign project or even build it from scratch.
Here are some of the services we offer:
- Content management system support tailored to user needs—whether you use Drupal or WordPress as a CMS, we have experts that can take each platform and customize it to align with your organization’s needs and branding.
- Custom module/plugin development so even if you can’t find the right tool to perform a specific action, our coding team can step in to make it for you.
- WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standards to ensure that anyone can access and engage with your healthcare services as needed.
- Custom integrations for an online health portal or other solutions that can expand your hospital website’s capabilities.
- Responsive mobile-first design because we know that your online hospital services should be accessible from any device and from anywhere.
- Technical SEO strategy and implementation so that if anyone looks up your hospital’s name, a specific doctor, or a program, your hospital website is the first option on the results page.
Even after your optimized site is officially launched, we will continue working alongside your hospital to create a full website growth plan. This ensures that your site is sustainable for as long as possible and is there to support your hospital as it evolves.
For more information on website development, check out these resources:
- Drupal vs. WordPress: Which One is Right For You? Drupal and WordPress are two popular content management systems that hospitals depend on. Learn which one is right for your organization in this guide!
- Healthcare Website Design Tips and 4 Inspiring Examples. Your healthcare website is a vital resource. This guide explores tips and best practices for optimizing your healthcare website design.
- Inclusive & Accessible Forms. Need to collect information via a form on your website? Forms ask your users to provide personal data, so ensure those forms are inclusive and accessible.