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Kyruus Blog

The Future Hospital Website: Are We Putting the Cart Before the Horse?

The Chief Experience Officer and Getting Hospitals Back to Basics

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. 

No matter how advanced these websites become, we need to first ensure that a patient be able to search for, choose, and access the right clinician for their condition and ultimately, their consultation or visit. Many U.S. hospitals lack the ability for patients to type in their condition and find a clinically appropriate physician because their website search capabilities are based on decades-old technology. We did an analysis of this physician-search problem, looking at 40 of the top U.S. hospitals. Over half failed the test. 
 
This matters because improper patient-provider matching can lead to poorer health outcomes for patients, barriers to patient access, and ineffective use of patient and provider time. It can also increase a patient’s dissatisfaction with his/her care, erode providers' job satisfaction, and increase unnecessary health care costs. 
 
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. 

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Topics: Patient Access