Brochure-ware: When Physician Websites Fail Miserably

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

web design puzzlesHealthcare marketing professionals cringed at the news in our earlier post, Little Blue Book Blues: Doctors Think Their Website is a Failure. It’s a gut-wrenching awareness that only 8 percent of physicians feel their website is the source of new patients.

Hopefully, your website has a significantly better track record. But another survey tells us why many medical practice websites fail so miserably. It seems that many doctor websites are nothing more than what is disdainfully referred to as “brochure-ware,” an online dump of rudimentary information.

“Doctor’s websites are woefully lacking when it comes to serving patients,” observes the MedCity News. “Physicians’ websites are more ‘electronic brochures’ than online health resources.”

Among several hundred urologists, orthopedic surgeons and other practices analyzed in three major cities, MedCity reports that:

  • 69 percent of these physicians have websites but only 33 percent of them have anything more than biographical and practice information on it;
  • Only 99 have information centered around patients such as medical conditions and treatment options; and
  • Four percent—only 12 doctors—made at least one blog posting in the past 12 months to inform patients on trends and research.

Sadly, this snapshot tells us, from a marketing perspective, that many medical practices are turning their digital backs on the well-documented fact that most prospective patients look online for healthcare information and provider resources. (Some practices evidently have no website at all.)

The “minimalist” approach of posting a CV, a dash of “brochure-ware” text, and (hopefully) some contact information is woefully inadequate for today’s informed, involved and computer-centric healthcare consumer.

If it’s possible to make things worse, this “set-and-forget” includes website content that is seldom updated, likely to appear low on Search Results ranking and be devoid of compelling reasons to trust or even contact the provider.

Provider practices that regard their Internet presence as an electronic version of their printed brochure (or, in some cases, their business card) are driving prospective patients to a competitive practice that effectively engages, informs and attracts new patients.

So, for those physicians who think their website does little to attract new patients and fails to support their business development goals, one reason is that a brochure and a website are distinctly different marketing tools. To read more on this subject, and what to do instead, see: 4 Website Design Mistakes That Sabotage Healthcare Marketing.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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