Website Heal Thyself: Creating a Patient-Friendly Web Experience


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A quick review of the custom taxonomy that powers and the results of the site launch, leading to a 700% increase in patient appointment requests. Presented during the Case Studies session and the Healthcare Experience Design conference in Boston, March 2013.

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  • Hello everyone, and thank you for joining me this afternoon as I discuss Website Heal Thyself: Creating a Patient-Friendly Web Experience. (10 sec.) (10 sec.)
  • My name is Jeff Stevens and I work at the University of Florida Academic Health Center. I am the Assistant Web Manger, where I oversee the content strategy and theory for our primary web presence, the intranet, and our academic web sites, including usability, accessibility, and optimization. (20 sec) (30 sec)
  • The University of Florida Academic Health Center consists of six academic colleges – Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Professions, Dentistry, and Veterinary Medicine – as well as six research institutes, two teaching hospitals, two specialty hospitals and a host of physician medical practices and outpatient services throughout the state of Florida. Our mission is three fold: patient care, education, and research. (30 seconds) (1 minute)
  • In 2012, our web services team began the final phase of a two-year project to upgrade and enhance the Academic Health Center’s external web presences. (1:10)
  • After successfully deploying a template for our academic mission oriented sites, we turned our eye to the primary site for the hospital. (1:20)
  • The existing site,, focused primarily on hospital services and our external physician clinic network. It did not represent our facilities in Jacksonville, the Dental practices run by the College of Dentistry, or the services of our Veterinary College. Maintained by hand, the site’s content was not up to date and editing had become difficult as the site had grown. (1:41)
  • Although the Find a Doctor feature was included in this site, most of the patient – oriented content lived externally to the site, in individual department, clinic, center, and program websites. The path to this important information from was often confusing to navigate, with patients having to go through several websites. (2:04)
  • The end result was a labyrinth of information, that made it incredibly difficult for patients to understand the breadth of the organization and the services that our providing by our health care system. (2:17)
  • In approaching the redesign of, we needed to build a site that met all three missions of the organization. But first and foremost in our mind was in addressing this inherent difficulty of gathering enough information to make informed decisions about health care. The new site was designed to focus on patient needs first, and students and researchers secondly. (2:40)
  • Our new design makes Finding a doctor, requesting an appointment, and accessing records much more prominent from the home page. (2:48)
  • Drop down menus were replaced with large scale mega menus that allow for more organized categorizations of links, highlights for our specialty medical care, and links into our health encyclopedia. (3:01)
  • The central content strutcure of the site is built on a custom taxonomy. The taxonomy includes the department lines, specialties and sub specialties of our health care providers, physicians, and dentists. In turn the taxonomy then acts as the heart of a number of data sources that feed into the site. (3:21)
  • Our site includes a health encyclopedia with data licensed from A.D.A.M., an online health information system. These definitions are then associated to the taxonomy. UF physicians can add to this content, rewrite the content to be specific about their department and its capabilities, or add additional content into a separate tabbed page called Approach to Care. (3:48)
  • Our physician profiles are maintained by a database in the College of Medicine, which pulls credentialing data from the health care system and contact information from our physicians listings in the university phone directory. This database can be added to by the physicians or by web services personnel. (4:06)
  • Practices in our physician and dental system, hospitals, and labs make up our location data. The data comes from office managers and marketing reps and are verified with our central administration and are thouroughly reviewed quarterly. (4:21).
  • Research Studies that are open for participants are also associated to the taxonomy. These studies are fed via our Institutional Review Board to the Clinical and Translational Science Institute and then to us. (4:33)
  • All of these data sources and then categorized by the central taxonomy to be displayed within our health encyclopedia, making these pages a central hub for all patient information about how the system approaches that disease, condition, test or procedure. Here we see the system definition for heart attack and the ADAM definition. Location, Providers, and Research Studies are pulled in ad additional tabs of information. In the right hand column, we have a direct link to making an appointment, news and events – and, if there were any, video – that have been tagged for this health topic entry. Finally, there is a link to the related service line for this health topic. (5:16)
  • Locations tagged for the health topic appear in the locations tab. If there are less than five locations that have indicated a specialty in this particular area, then a button appears that allows patients to see additional related locations. In this case, heart attack’s related locations would be other units in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine. This allows patients to connect with a location that is most likely within the health care system to treat their condition. (5:43)
  • In the Providers tab, similar functionality allows a patient to see related cardiovascular physicians that have not selected heart attack as a clinical interest, if there are less that five providers listed. (5:52)
  • The research studies tab brings in open research studies that are looking for participants. Instructions on how to apply and on how the clinical trial process works appears in the right hand column. (6:00)
  • The locations page pulls in information about the providers and links off to the specialty pages and the health topics that location identifies as being part of their patient care mission. The telephone number in the upper right changes dynamically on location pages to match the primary contact number for that location. (6:17)
  • The map and directions page pulls in a Google map, a form field for entering your address to get driving directions, and information on Parking. If this facility was on our central campus, it would also pull in information on our shuttle service and internal wayfinding maps. (6:30)
  • Like the health topic pages, providers are listed along with their clinical interests. (6:36)
  • Here is a physician profile. Practices, specialty, and clinical interests are displayed, as well as news and multimedia related to the provider. In addition, patient testimonials are also delivered onto the profile. (6:49)
  • The background page pulls in education and self-supplied biographies to give the patients a chance to know more about the provider. This also includes certifications, associations, and awards won. (7:02)
  • The final tab for a provider displays a list of research publications, research interests, and any disclosures of relationships with external health agencies or businesses. (7:14)
  • With the launch of the site and the taxonomy, patient care content on the academic oriented sites has been replaced to direct the traffic back to these primary content areas on the core site. acts as a content aggregator, rather than a portal to all of the outer sites. In addition newsletters and social media direct traffic to related. (7:34)
  • Making a request for an appointment became a primary focus on the new site. The ability to request is present on all of our pages – from the home page… (7:42)
  • To the provider bios…
  • The locations…
  • And our health topics. At each level, the button captures data of where the appointment request originated, to assist the Patient Access Center in scheduling the appointment to the specific location and provider requested. (8:06)
  • Our average user visits 2.42 pages on the site. (8:20)
  • But those that make an appointment are visiting nearly four times as many pages – going deeper into the content. (8:25)
  • They spend five times as much time on the site. (8:30)
  • Our number of patient requests have risen dramatically since the relaunch, from around 30 per week to over one hundred requests per week right after launch - and as you can see, that number has been steadily increasing. (8:43)
  • We’ve seen a 230% increase in the number of monthly appointment requests, and a 706% increase in the number of new patients that come for an appointment. (8:52)
  • We’re continually refining the site to help make this process easier. In 2013, our traffic from mobile reached 20%. (8:58)
  • However, when we looked at our statistics for mobile users, the experience seemed to be lacking overall. The number of people able to make an appointment dropped significantly. (9:08)
  • So we looked to see how we could improve the experience for them, with an eye to have appointment requests reach 20%. (9:12)
  • We created a mobile friendly version of the site. The new site had full content parity with the original – you can visit any page from on the mobile site. The home page focuses on those four pillars of content, but with the full menu a click away. (9:30)
  • Tabbed content gets rearranged to act as easier to hit buttons. (9:33)
  • A location page. (9:35)
  • And a provider page. (9:40)
  • Our new mobile site has been live only a few weeks, but the appointment requests so far have increase to 19.5%. (9:48)
  • Our primary issue regarding patients was one of access. We had created a system that was too cumbersome to navigate and left people in need in the dark. (9:58)
  • Access is now vastly improved, allowing us to move the site, change by change, into a more fully integrated resource for our patients to make informed health decisions. (10:04)
  • Our new mobile site has been live only a few weeks, but the appointment requests so far have increase to 19.5%. (9:48)
  • Website Heal Thyself: Creating a Patient-Friendly Web Experience

    1. 1. WEBSITE, HEAL THYSELF:Creating a Patient- Friendly Web Experience
    2. 2. About Myself• Content Strategy• Content Theory• Accessibility• Usability• Optimization
    3. 3. UF&Shands
    4. 4. UF AHC RedesignUF AHC Redesign
    5. 5. UF AHC RedesignUF AHC Redesign
    6. 6.
    7. 7. The Problem
    8. 8. Labyrinth of InformationLabyrinth of Information
    9. 9. Patient-FocusedPatient-Focused
    11. 11. TAXONOMY
    12. 12. TAXONOMY
    14. 14. TAXONOMY
    15. 15. Directing Patients to the CentralSite
    16. 16. …the big orange button
    17. 17. …the big orange button
    18. 18. …the big orange button
    19. 19. …the big orange button
    20. 20. Website User Behavior:Pages Per Visit(how many pages are viewed in a 30 minute visit)Site Average:2.42
    21. 21. Website User Behavior:Pages Per Visit(how many pages are viewed in a 30 minute visit)Site Average:2.510.5Patients:
    22. 22. Website User Behavior:Visit DurationPatients:12 minutes, 2 secondsSite Average:2:11
    23. 23. Analytics Q3 CY2012 Update:UFP and ShandsSite LaunchSite Launch319319
    24. 24. Analytics Q3 CY2012 Update:UFP and ShandsMay (pre-launch) June Q3 2012 Monthly Avg.Monthly AppointmentRequests 136 450 638Patients 15 121 237Accounts 33 194 425230% 42%706%488% 119%96%
    25. 25. Mobile Visitor Growth: 2010-2013
    26. 26. Desktop MobileAvg. Pages per Visit 2.83 1.58Avg. Time of Visit 2:29 1:35Bounce Rate 51% 75%Percentage of AppointmentGoal Completions 88% 12%Engagement: Mobile vs Desktop
    27. 27. Desktop MobileAvg. Pages per Visit 2.83 1.58Avg. Time of Visit 2:29 1:35Bounce Rate 51% 75%Percentage of AppointmentGoal Completions 88% 12%Goal: Improve Key Performance Indicators
    28. 28. TITLEThe NewUFandShands.orgMobile Experience
    29. 29. TITLEThe NewUFandShands.orgMobile Experience
    30. 30. TITLEThe NewUFandShands.orgMobile ExperienceHEALTH TOPIC
    31. 31. TITLEThe NewUFandShands.orgMobile ExperienceLOCATIONS
    32. 32. TITLEThe NewUFandShands.orgMobile ExperienceLOCATIONS
    33. 33. TITLEThe NewUFandShands.orgMobile ExperiencePROVIDERS
    34. 34. Results19.5%
    35. 35. Jeff | @kuratowa