How does a hospital website branding have positive effects of patients visiting and hospital recruitment?

Teruhide Koyama, Kazuo Takahashi, Aiko Takahashi, Yosuke Takeda


Background: Medical institutions use websites for practical purposes such as patient education and information provision. Smartphone penetration established the website as the most useful tool for information retrieval. Therefore, adapted rather than conventional website management is demanded by smartphone users for extensive dispatch of information. Social marketing, which is commonly used as an intervention strategy in global health, provides adequate information. A decision-making process based on exposure to information is the key to a good strategy. We aim to show how the behavior of a person (new patient or job applicant) could be changed through a website branding strategy of regular updates.
Methods: Since November 2015, we increased the number of pages of a website of a certain hospital by regular website updates. This study forecasted the monthly website log, number of new patients, and job applicants. Google Analytics was used to obtain, store, and maintain website usage data for the period of November 2014 to October 2016. The website was updated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday since November 2015. The 19 departments updated their information more than once a month. The update contents consisted of symptoms of illness, illness mechanisms, lifestyle advice, diagnosis processes, each department’s education program, and the welfare of employees. The achievement or underachievement of the conversion was distributed to website visitors.
Results: The website log for each parameter increased monthly during the intervention period. The monthly average for new patients was 97 prior to the intervention, and increased to 121 during the intervention (i.e., an increase of 1.25 times). The proportion of job applications via the hospital website increased from 10.9% prior to the intervention to 27.8% during the intervention. The successful applicant rate increased significantly during the intervention. Furthermore, the visit duration per web page increased during the intervention period, and the number of page views per session decreased.
Conclusions: This study indicates that novel website branding, through regular updates and aggressive information dissemination, contributed to more new patients and job applicants. This vertical communication can positively influence established human behavior by increasing reach and effectiveness, thus establishing the consumers as partners.