Last week a Wall Street Journal article, “What Hospital Websites of the Future Will Look Like,” caught our eye. Several key observations and predictions in the article were right on, in my opinion, and spark a great discussion about how health systems will be forced to change to accommodate patient behaviors. Websites are a good example.
The writer made several interesting predictions for hospital websites in the next 10 years including the incorporation of real-time patient reviews and observations, quality ratings and the availability of video consultations that will allow patients to connect with physicians, advanced nurse practitioners and pharmacists via the hospital website. All of these are useful advancements, for sure, especially the focus on data transparency and information access. But before we implement these new features, we should be sure that we address a critical gap found on most hospital websites today.
While it’s exciting that the “hospital website of the future” will include plenty of features we've never seen before, if the website doesn’t run on accurate, up-to-date data that patients can use about physician specialties, clinical interests, locations and insurance plans, those new options won’t help much.