Health Literacy: How To Provide the Customer-Focused Online Experience Your Visitors Expect

August 22, 2018
Stacy Robison, MPH, MCHES, president and co-founder of CommunicateHealth, Inc.

Stacy Robison, MPH, MCHES, president and co-founder of CommunicateHealth, Inc.

“As many as 50 to 90 percent of adults struggle with health literacy,” states Stacy Robison, MPH, MCHES, president and co-founder of CommunicateHealth, Inc. “This is because medical information is very complex and full of jargon.”

In addition, she points out that the stress of a patient’s healthcare journey further hinders that person’s ability to wade through unfamiliar or confusing language.

Remember the last time you booked airline tickets, reserved a hotel room, or shopped online? You probably had an excellent customer service experience. Most major brands today understand the importance of catering to their online visitors and making their websites intuitive and understandable. 

Healthcare systems, on the other hand, continue to lag behind. If your organization’s website and portal aren’t user-friendly — including language, design, and functionality — consumers may find the process of navigating through your pages confusing and discouraging. You could be risking poor compliance with medical recommendations, lowering patient satisfaction scores, and sending people straight to your competitors.

“Using your [hospital] website should be as easy as booking a plane flight,” she says. But there is a big gap between the digital experience offered by many healthcare organizations and the consumer experience offered by airlines and other major brands. And this is true despite healthcare organizations’ large investments of time, money, and effort to create sophisticated websites and patient portals.

“The key is reaching folks where they are, rather than making them jump through hurdles to use your products and tools,” Robison says. She recommends using clear language that everyone can understand, selecting appealing designs and colorful graphics, and using prompts to help people know where to go on your website and portal.  

In our new article, we provide eight tips to make sure you’re meeting your patients’ needs along with a printable checklist:

Health Literacy 101: Don’t Frustrate Your Site Visitors

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey

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