In today’s digital age, consumers expect fast and efficient access to the information they need on websites. This expectation extends beyond retail and e-commerce to all sectors, including healthcare. To meet these rising demands, healthcare providers must adapt, innovate, and deliver a digital experience that rivals the convenience found in other industries.


The transformation of the retail sector by Amazon is a perfect illustration of the necessity for change. Amazon’s disruption forced an entire industry to innovate and compete for survival. Shopping became fast, mobile, and incredibly easy, with transactions completed in just a few clicks. Today, consumers expect the same level of convenience from their healthcare providers.


According to the 2022 Healthcare Consumer Report by NRC Health, more than a third of consumers lack brand preference when it comes to health systems. Despite this, consumers exhibit strong loyalty to health systems that provide a superior digital experience. This means that to stay competitive and attract patients, healthcare leaders must prioritize consumer convenience and create a “shoppable” healthcare experience. By adopting successful e-commerce strategies like performance optimization, mobile accessibility, and advanced search functionalities, health systems can serve more people effectively with the same resources.


Speed and Mobile Accessibility: Mission-Critical

Digital health leaders are well aware that mobile traffic is set to surpass desktop as the primary means of accessing websites. However, merely being mobile-friendly is no longer sufficient. In our “instant everything” culture, milliseconds matter, especially on small screens. Research indicates that over half of patients abandon mobile pages that take longer than three seconds to load. This highlights the importance of speed in capturing and retaining consumer engagement.

The benefits of optimizing page performance extend beyond user engagement to include organic growth. Google prioritizes user experience and values performance, particularly mobile-page speed, as a critical ranking signal. Faster load times improve search rankings, thus casting a wider net to attract patients at the point of discovery.

Modern web architecture, widely adopted by e-commerce retailers, leverages next-generation technology to ensure lightning-fast performance across all channels. Techniques such as pre-rendering web pages on global content delivery networks (CDNs) and using APIs to hydrate dynamic content make care easily discoverable from search results. This approach ensures that pages grab a patient's attention swiftly.


Streamlined Search for Optimal Care Access

In the realm of e-commerce, about 69% of users head directly to the search box to start their journey. This intuitive feature is often underutilized in healthcare websites, where search functionalities are typically hard to find and yield results that do not match patient intent. Fortunately, advancements in natural language processing and artificial intelligence now enable multi-modal and real-time search results that guide patients to appropriate care seamlessly.


Imagine a single search bar on any page of a healthcare website that captures intent and returns relevant care options, whether it’s finding a provider, booking an appointment, or scheduling a flu shot. This “find-care” experience replaces traditional find-a-doc directories with a streamlined, powerful, and user-friendly search functionality.


Data Intelligence: Orchestrating Care

Implementing e-commerce strategies in healthcare also requires robust data intelligence to coordinate how, when, and where care is accessed. Proper care orchestration begins with data unification, balancing supply and demand for care. This involves real-time data infrastructure that coordinates between doctors, nurses, and clinics, creating a friction-free digital experience while protecting health system resources.


As long as patients have choices regarding their health, they remain consumers who value convenience and quality experiences. By reducing digital friction and simplifying complex processes, health systems can meet consumer expectations with speed, accessibility, and efficient scheduling, all while managing clinicians’ workloads intelligently.


Consumer expectations are ever-changing, influenced by technology, social trends, and personal experiences. E-commerce has adapted to these dynamics, and healthcare must do the same to provide the convenient, quality digital experiences that modern consumers demand.


Source: HealthDataManagement

Image Credit: iStock


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