Clicks count: How to make your hospital's website work for you

By 2016, more than half of traffic to hospital websites will be on mobile devices. So, it may be a good time to make sure your hospital's site is optimized for mobile. 

This statistic is among those explored by independent digital agency Primacy, which analyzed the traffic and paid search activity of five hospitals in 2012 and illustrated the findings in an infographic.

The infographic points out that in 2013, for the first time ever, mobile searches for health-related items exceeded desktop searches. It found that 83 percent of hospital searches on the Web are organic, 9 percent are through referral websites, and 8 percent are through paid search.

Among other findings:

  • On average, hospitals promote between six and 12 service lines via paid search.
  • 10 percent of paid search visitors reach hospital's sites via individual physician finder pages.
  • It costs $18 to find one patient through a patient finder referral, but the return on investment for bariatric surgery, to cite one example, averages $5,000.

In August, Pew Internet: Health reported that more than three out of four people searching online for health information started with a search engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo, while 13 percent went to a specialized site such as WebMD.

Some hospital websites work better than others. Inc. magazine analyzed the website presence of Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic in 2012, finding that Cleveland Clinic "understands its target audience's needs extremely well [while Mayo Clinic] just doesn't get it."

In 2013, a study conducted by Professors Amalia Miller of the University of Virginia and Catherine Tucker of the MIT Sloan School of Management found that the same goes for social media--only about a quarter of Facebook posts by hospitals emphasize patient issues. As a result, most engagement in such settings was with hospital employees rather than patients.

This summer, meanwhile, a white paper from HP Media Solutions found that social media has the power to destroy or boost hospital reputations.

To learn more:
- see the infographic from Primacy

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