Maximizing the patient digital experience
The Austin Diagnostic Clinic’s doctors and providers serve thousands of patients in and around the greater Austin area. ADC’s services span both primary and specialty care, as well as nearly a dozen auxiliary services. ADC has more than 150 doctors and mid-level providers seeing patients at 17 Central Texas locations.
ADC wanted to attract more patients in an increasingly competitive medical industry. While ADC had hundreds of established patients, it was becoming increasingly more difficult for the clinic to distinguish itself. Austin’s population was rapidly growing, and according to market research, fewer newcomers were hearing about ADC, and when they did, residents confused ADC with other local clinics.
ADC had a number of objectives they wanted to accomplish. Their goals were to:
- Retain and increase market share
Austin’s population had doubled, and the number of competing providers had also increased. ADC wanted to make sure it not only retained its current patient population, but also increased the number of patients and appointments.
- Improve patient access to clinic information, reduce inbound calls
ADC’s business staff was handling hundreds of calls each day from patients, reducing productivity. The clinic wanted to reduce the number of calls by improving online access to basic information, such as locations, clinic hours, care instructions and forms.
- Drive more traffic to the website
Traffic to ADC’s existing website in 2011 averaged 55,000 visitors per month. By increasing web traffic, the clinic could capture more patients and consolidate messaging.
I began as an in-house designer and developer at ADC in 2011. My first task was to analyze the clinic’s digital strategy.
ADC had a complex website without a focused target audience. As a result,the website was at a disadvantage when appealing to the clinic’s primary target market — new patients.
There were 750 pages of content on an existing domain with established domain authority. Over time, the content had become disorganized and hard for some users to locate quickly.
Based on feedback from emails and phone calls to the marketing department, new site visitors reported they had trouble locating information because of the way it was organized. Anecdotal evidence indicated that visitors were frustrated when they visited the website, which affected their feelings for the clinic itself.
The decision was made to implement a new digital strategy:
- Redesign website
- Establish social media presence and drive traffic to website
The process began with a content inventory and analysis. Each piece of content was cataloged and analyzed for its contribution to the site. Through a collaborative process, ADC decided which content should be kept or removed. Content was flagged if it needed to be reorganized. A content strategy was developed to help guide future content creation and how it should be organized.
At the same time, a competitive analysis was executed. What were the other sites doing that was effective, and what could be improved upon? The competitive analysis uncovered key website elements for users and helped guide the overall digital strategy.
The marketing team was asked to answer a series of questions about each of the competitor’s websites. In addition, actual patients visited the clinic and tested the clinic’s website as well as their competitors’ websites. Users were asked to complete a series of tasks. Their interactions were analyzed to understand where they had trouble and why.
I also identified and prioritized the clinic’s target audiences. There was a wide range. Ultimately, the clinic decided to focus on new patients – women, aged 25-64.
Each stage in the process was tested with a set of real patients. Stakeholders were also invited to participate. Over several days, stakeholders were invited to sort content to understand how real users think about content organization. The results of the activities were used to design the new site’s information architecture, visual appearance, navigational structure and backend site management.
The new website redesign was launched in May 2012.
Applying additional features
Following the launch of the initial design, I attended a design conference, and realized that the CMS framework was limiting and needed to be upgraded. I successfully presented my case to my managers, and I was approved to rebuild the design using the Genesis framework. Additionally, I saw, based on feedback, that some upgrades needed to be made to our doctors section.
In 2013, adjustments were made to the site’s framework and design to make it more mobile-friendly. We also added new features — including a new doctor filter and search.
The marketing department was also given clearance to add a request appointment form to the website. Since this was a new initiative, we worked with the clinic’s business office to map out how appointment requests would be handled once they came through the website. We tracked the form’s performance through goal tracking in Google Analytics.
Results were encouraging. Website traffic steadily increased and online visibility helped drive new appointments.
- 61% increase in web traffic
As of 2016, ADC averaged 90,000 visitors per month, an increase of more than 60% since 2011.
- New and established patient appointment requests
ADC was capturing patients who might not have wanted to call during the day for an appointment. Appointment requests completed online had a .71% conversion rate in 2016.