Hospital Digital Experience Index: An Experiment to Define Website Benchmarks

March 27, 2017

// By Jane Weber Brubaker //

jane-brubakerA consumer’s experience on a website may be less than perfect at times. In most cases a badly designed website isn’t life-threatening, but in healthcare, being able to find the right information at the right time could actually make a difference. Are health system websites equal to the task? How easy do they make it for consumers to quickly find what they’re looking for?

HDX-15, the Hospital Digital Experience Index, is an experiment designed to investigate these questions. Created and conducted by digital experience agency ConnectiveDX, HDX-15 assesses the websites of the top 15 U.S. hospital systems, ranked by U.S. News & World Report.


Dave Wieneke, healthcare practice director, Connective DX

Dave Wieneke, healthcare practice director, Connective DX

The project evolved organically from the agency’s work with its own clients. “We often do competitive assessment when we’re working with our healthcare clients,” says Dave Wieneke, digital strategy practice director. “Our experience designers figured out that they could share good assessment practices and start rolling up knowledge from one engagement to the next.”

But why limit it to clients? Why not develop benchmarks that could serve the industry as a whole? Based on that premise, the team at ConnectiveDX created an assessment tool to systematically and objectively quantify the best digital innovation. Evaluating the “Best Hospitals” websites was a logical place to begin.

Wieneke worked with several healthcare organizations to validate the usefulness of the tool. Phoenix Children’s Hospital was an early beta tester. “I saw some potential in it when we first got started, but the value exceeded my expectations,” says Jared Johnson, marketing technology manager.

Jared Johnson, manager, digital marketing services at Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Jared Johnson, marketing technology manager at Phoenix Children’s Hospital

At HCIC 2016, Wieneke and Johnson presented an overview of the index and the results of their collaboration. We followed up with them to dig into the details of the assessment process and find out:

  • How does the tool actually work?
  • Who can use it?
  • Can objective data on website functionality settle internal arguments about design priorities?
  • Can benchmarks help the industry make progress faster?

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