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Best Health Websites & How to Build Them

By: Kelley Talbot

We’ve all seen half-hearted attempts to go digital. Patient portals that take forever to sign up for, only to offer laughable functionality. Health groups sending useless emails and texts. Websites that just aren’t up to par (insurance companies, anyone?).

What grabs people’s attention? What keeps people coming back for more and even changes their behavior? What makes a virtual community feel like family?

As healthcare professionals try to refine their engagement tools, the Webby Awards offer some answers – and best-in-class models we can learn from.

In their 2016 health category, top honors go to the Happy Forecast, a site that calls itself a social happiness experience. The site creates a beautiful playground for exploring “micro-interactions” in public spaces in London, including body language, sounds, and physical acts of kindness and aggression.

Asserting that these interactions significantly impact our mood and overall well-being, the founders explain that their goal is to “[encourage] us to be more mindful of our everyday social interactions with strangers as we move through the city. If we are all more aware we can work towards shifting the stigma of a grumpy city and make London even more enjoyable to be in.”

The People’s Voice award in the health category goes to WebMD, a site that takes a beating from many critics but nonetheless boasts significant engagement numbers. It’s most well-known site claims to be the leading health information site for consumers, with Medscape being the leading source of clinical information for healthcare professionals.

Other Webby health winners include:

  • GoodRx, designed to help consumers save on prescription drugs
  • DansMonSac, a digital campaign for women’s sexual health in Quebec
  • MyHIVHangUp, which offers information and support for HIV+ patients considering or struggling with treatment.

Evive Health has also dedicated itself to building expertise in multi-platform patient engagement.

Some tips we’ve gleaned from tech experts:

  • Design with empathy – intentionally speak to your consumer
  • Test layout and design and make sure your patients can find you online
  • Build for utility, convenience and trust

This arena of healthcare communications will take ongoing dedication and learning on the part of professionals.  If done right, the rewards will be significant.