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Core Exchange: Patient-Centered Website Development Part 2

Ideas to put a patient in charge of their digital experience and data

Think “patient-first” when creating online experiences in healthcare. This is part 2 of our conversation with Core Creative developer Brady Moe.

You can listen to the episode using the player embedded above, or you can read a full transcript below. Be sure to subscribe to Core Exchange on iTunes.

  • Core Exchange | Patient-Centered Website Development Part 2

Articles Mentioned:

5 things patients should want from their healthcare website

Dr. ChatBot Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Bot

Episode Transcript:

Ward Alles: Welcome to the Core Exchange, a healthcare marketing podcast. I'm Ward Alles, President of Core Creative and we are going to continue on a second discussion now with Brady Moe our Lead Software Engineer and Developer. Brady, welcome.

Brady Moe: Hey, Ward.

Ward Alles: We had a nice discussion a little bit earlier. I hope all of our listeners had a chance to listen to the first session on what it takes to build out a great healthcare marketing and digital experience for our patients and our end users. And now we've got some additional ground to cover.

Brady Moe: Yeah, absolutely.

Ward Alles: You've been doing a little blogging for Core. I know you've written in the past and you've got some stuff coming up. One of your blogs that we'll link to from this podcast (above), from the transcription of this podcast it said five things patients should want from their healthcare website. So what are some of those topics that you recommend?

Brady Moe: I mean, so to be frank, that was just me being a consumer of healthcare. Those are things that I'd really want, and I know that they're totally doable. We have at least two of those things on some of our websites as well. And so one of the things is I think that you should have a location map so you can see where all the different locations are. Another thing that I think you should have on your website is an easy way to do billing. How nice would it be to be able to pay your hospital directly through the website without having to send a check or write a check right there? I think it makes sense to have it be a part of the website because that's where people are going to go.

I think having search on your website is a really good thing because you want to make sure that people are able to see what you have and quickly. And just having the right info on the page in general. Like for instance, having the opening hours and closing hours because how often do you go to a hospital place and you find out oh shoot they're actually closed on Labor Day? And now you've driven all this way just to find out that they're closed. Like having those types of hours directly on your website makes a really big difference, especially to the consumer.

Ward Alles: Yeah I love that you put that consumer first, the patient experience first. That you think that way automatically. You know really every member of a healthcare marketing team needs to do that. It's a challenge you've probably seen. The model is kind of being flipped right now. The paradigm is shifting. It used to be very much, Healthcare used to be very much what the doctor says goes, they're the expert, we follow them and we promote what they want to talk about.

Brady Moe: Yep.

Ward Alles: And now instead of the doctor being in the middle, it's the patient in the middle. And we build the experiences around them. That's good. That's good for the healthcare marketing world, but it's this big challenge. Can you talk a little bit about how you help think that through with clients on the healthcare marketing side? How you put that consumer in the middle? How you've done it in the past for a few other clients?

Brady Moe: So it's always really difficult, right, because whenever we're talking we typically talk to CMO's and we're talking to the high level marketing people. And those people don't always have a good sway with the physicians or the doctors or whomever that we're talking with and a lot of times those people will have a lot of say into whatever it is we're doing, especially they advertising side of things. And we need their buy in to be able to use them in an ad because those are the people that we are selling to the consumer. And so you know bringing that back to the consumer side, we need to make sure that the consumer actually cares about what the doctor or whatever is saying.

And I guess ... we're still kind of working through that challenge. It's, like you said, that's really flipped over the past few years I think and I totally agree that the patient has a lot more control than they've ever had. What I'd like to see us do is start to give the patient even more control over all of their data. What might be even cool is if we had, if you go to a doctor and you get lab results on whatever it might be kind of cool to be able to download those lab results or look at those lab results in real time on a website and just be able to kind of mess with that and potentially even talk to a doctor maybe in real time using a chat application just like to have them walk you through it. But basically just giving the consumer, the patient, more control over their data because ultimately it's their health, it's their data.

Ward Alles: You know so much of your mindset is about driving improvements and driving the future and stepping into the future. Some of the stuff is available with the consumer world and you may have to borrow some of that mindset or that thinking and apply it to the healthcare marketing world, right?

You said you like to solve these complex problems or challenges. And I find it really neat to have somebody like you on our team. It's a rare thing to have somebody always driving and pushing again for the future to happen in a healthcare site. Tell me a little bit about the differences between different types marketing challenges and how you think. For example I know you've done recruitment marketing sites in the past and do they represent, or present different challenges than a standard, run of the mill service line landing page or something like that?

Brady Moe: Yeah. Yeah so like recruitment is its own beast really. It's a totally different mindset because you're talking to a different person. And so what my take on that at least is I want to make sure that that person, who's ever looking for a job, has the easiest experience possible. Like it shouldn't take you six or seven clicks to get all the way through to applying to a job. If you're looking for a job, especially in this day in age, it should be pretty quick and easy to apply for the job. A lot of times on some career websites I've seen, they want to talk about themselves a lot and it's like if I'm already at your careers website I care enough about who you are already. Get me to the thing where I see what positions you have available so that I can start to see how I can fit in and work with you. Because I think the biggest thing that anybody looking for a job really should be thinking of is how I can help that company and how that company can help me. And so those two things need to mesh really well together and so that's what you should be looking for on a recruitment site are those two things combined.

Ward Alles: Yeah. So every marketing challenge that comes along, you're putting that user in the center of the experience. In this case a recruitment site, it could be doctors or nurses that healthcare system's recruiting. In case of a standard website, it's the patient as a consumer. You're putting them in the middle. That gives you some variety in your job, doesn't it?

Brady Moe: Yeah. No and it's great. And I think you're hitting on something that's really important that we do too is that we do user research. We have a full team that's dedicated to researching the personas that might come about of who we're trying target and who we're trying to actually advertise to. And I think that's really important because one of my biggest philosophies is don't solve problems that don't exist. So if we're only just building websites, we're not solving problems. Like what are we solving? Give me a problem or let me help you find exactly what your problem is and then we will build a solution around that.

Ward Alles: And help whoever it is, doctors, nurses, patients, take action on websites.

Brady Moe: Mm-hmm, yes.

Ward Alles: Calls to action, create those conversions so that you can measure that web experience or that landing page or whatever it is did what it set out to do.

Brady Moe: Yeah.

Ward Alles: So you must love getting that big picture with the client, think through the business objective of the challenge. What does that look like? Are you in all those meetings as the lead software engineer and developer? Are you hearing directly from the client what the business objectives are? Sometimes? Sometimes not?

Brady Moe: Sometimes, sometimes not. It depends on where they're at. These development pipelines can take a lot of time. So sometimes in the very beginning we'll have the technical director who's our user experience guy, he'll be in there. So Bob will be in there a lot more. And he'll be getting a lot more of the requirements because he's really good about creating these user stories. And I might not be in all of those meetings, but then once we're actually starting to kind of get into the nitty gritty, I am very much in those meetings because I need to help identify the actual problems. And so that's where I fit in there.

Ward Alles: It's a team effort to build things out with the client and internally.

Brady Moe: Yeah, absolutely. I couldn't do it without the team. It's very much a team effort.

Ward Alles: If somebody was building this competency out within their own healthcare system and they don't have unlimited resources, what three or four positions or titles would you want them to have on their team to create digital experiences?

Brady Moe: Definitely user experience, like absolutely because that's where you should put your user first so always definitely user experience. And then a full stack software engineer. Somebody that knows the server that also knows the front end. They don't necessarily need to know everything up and down, but enough to be able to communicate with a third-party vendor if they need to if you need to outsource anything. Those are the top two positions I'd say.

And then somebody to sell it because you got to have somebody that talks the talk and is able to get that stuff into the door to even just help you kind of push that along. And then probably the fourth person. That would absolutely need on a team to do that, somebody that really understands the healthcare world. So like a healthcare researcher. But that healthcare person also needs to understand digital so like a digital healthcare person, which I might be describing a unicorn. And I understand that. But that's kind of what I'd be looking for is somebody that can really help make sure that the UX, the full stack, and the sales people are all kind of under one umbrella and totally understanding every little piece of what they're trying to do.

Ward Alles: Good, yeah, that's helpful. Thank you. What's coming around the corner? What are you looking at? What are you anticipating?

Brady Moe: So we've seen a lot of stuff. We talked about chat bots a little bit earlier.

Ward Alles: Yeah.

Brady Moe: And I'm really excited. We developed a little chat bot at work and what I hope that we can do in the future is kind of build more chat bots for some of our clients. I think chat bots are a really great way for, especially for healthcare market, like for healthcare websites. It's a great way to interface with somebody on your website. Because how often have you heard stories of people going to WebMD, typing in their symptoms and then finding out oh shoot, I have six different forms of cancer. Which that's really never the case, but like having a chat bot and being able to have a conversation that's directly on a website, you can start to get that info and a doctor or whomever we're working with can help facilitate the questions down to a like a smaller subset so that when you start to search your symptoms you're not getting back six forms of cancer.

Ward Alles: Yeah.

Brady Moe: And so I actually wrote an article too for, that'll be on the the Core health website coming up, which is coming out soon. It’s about chat bots and kind of how chat bots can help, especially in the healthcare space.

Ward Alles: Well we'll link to that one too then.

Brady Moe: Yeah.

Ward Alles: We're going to have a couple of Brady blogs for our listeners to kind of read on and learn a little bit more about your point of view and what we do here at Core. Brady, if you could wave a magic wand to help our healthcare marketers solve business problems in house or with an agency, where would you start with a waving of the magic wand? What would you do?

Brady Moe: Their tech stack, absolutely. And help them manage their data. Healthcare has so, so much data and I just keep reading more and more about how they don't necessarily know what to do with all their data. And on top of that everything that I'm hearing even from the healthcare advisory board that we have at Core says that tech is super far behind in the healthcare space. You have a couple outliers, but overall like the lower and mid-level healthcare industry could really use help in tech and probably in data as well. So that's where I'd wave my wand and make that magic happen.

Ward Alles: Yeah. And measure what matters, right?

Brady Moe: Yeah.

Ward Alles: Because so much data can be pulled in, but not all of it matters. You can get so granular. We only have so many marketing dollars to go around so we have to push what makes sense and build those great digital ecosystems that drive business and get the results that we want. So the guidance that we can get from somebody like you and your team is invaluable. What's been the biggest surprise of working in the healthcare world from your standpoint, from a digital perspective?

Brady Moe: The biggest surprise for me in healthcare has really just been the lack of technical aptitude really. There's definitely a lot of smart people. Doctors are super smart people, but they don't necessarily have the technology aptitude for like thinking things through from a software perspective. And it's seeing how outdated some of their tech can be has been a really big surprise to me because you know if you go to a hospital you see those tablets and you kind of immediately assume oh they're way ahead on everything. But realistically they're actually pretty far behind the times. Hotels have better experiences sometimes.

Ward Alles: Isn't that something? Well that's why we need people like Brady Moe.

Brady Moe: Yeah. That's right. I hope so. I want to make sure I can help them get there.

Ward Alles: Yeah. Cool. Well thank you. This has been very informative and you've been a great guest. So such a great guest we had to two podcasts with you.

Brady Moe: I know, that's great. I probably just talk too much and that's okay.

Ward Alles: No. A lot of take time for our listeners. Thanks man.

Brady Moe: Yeah awesome. Thanks.


Brady Moe is the lead software, dev/ops engineer at Core Creative.


Ward Alles is the President and Brand Consultant at Core Health.


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