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February 24, 2012

Study names top 25 hospital websites

Daily Briefing

A recent study in the Journal of Healthcare Management names the nation's top 25 hospital websites, but notes that many hospital pages still miss the mark and could be improved.

For the study, University of North Carolina-Greensboro researchers and colleagues analyzed 636 hospital websites for accessibility, content, marketing, and technology using an analysis tool that mapped each site.

The hospital websites that received the highest scores across the four categories were:

1. Arizona Cancer Center (Tucson);

2. Scripps Health (San Diego, Calif.);

3. Hospital for Special Surgery (New York);

3. Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home (Greenville, Maine);

5. Palo Alto Medical Foundation (Calif.);

5. American Family Children’s Hospital (Madison, Wis.);

5. Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (Nashville);

5. The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton (Ohio); and

5. Avera Health (Sioux Falls, S.D.).

Overall, the study found that hospital websites often were not user-friendly for people with low health and computer literacy levels. The study also found that sites ineffectively used visuals to supplement text and have poor search engine optimization.

According to the study, "[i]f a hospital's website does not conform to or exceed a customer's expectations based on previous experiences [with consumer sites like Amazon and eBay], customers may make inferences about facility quality that may negatively influence their decision-making process" (Glenn, MedCity News, 2/16).

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