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Web presence index ranks hospitals' online marketing prowess

Healthcare providers must target patients with consumer marketing strategies

As health systems and hospitals consolidate and battle for patients, they are starting to employ online consumer marketing efforts. A new Provider Web Presence Index is now available to track the success of providers.

Payer+Provider Syndicate has created the Provider Web Presence Index, which was released Tuesday, and evaluates the quality of the web presence of hospitals compared with competitors. The tool is based on a single indicator, which incorporates measures of web traffic, inbound linking and site relevance.

The top 10 health systems with the overall best web presence were heavy on governmental systems, led by the VA Healthcare System, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, and Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services. These facilities share domains with their high-traffic parent websites.

[See also: 4 strategies for using consumer ratings ]

However, the top private provider organizations were Johns Hopkins Medicine, Mayo Clinic and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Also appearing in the top 20 were Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Boston Children’s Hospital.

“In general, great performance on the index is achieved through having a well-known brand, garnering a lot of web traffic – which puts health systems with larger footprints at an advantage – and  through having a lot of external sites write about the brand,” said Adam Powell, president of Payer+Provider Syndicate.

“A combination of marketing, high patient utilization, and great thought leadership are needed to have a great web presence,” he said.

Notably, many publicly-traded health systems did not score as well on the index as non-profit large systems. “While many for-profit health systems have more patients than non-profit health systems, they often do not invest as heavily in the sort of thought leadership that ends up generating inbound links,” Powell said.

The index was calculated by using data from Alexa and Google captured in September.

 

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