Monthly Archives: July 2015

How do you manage patient input to your website design?

Our main feature this month is an interview with Gary Hughes at Waterfield Practice who has implemented a survey to gather patients’ ideas about the new website.

A painless way of getting feedback

As a key part of planning the new website for Waterfield Practice, Gary Hughes, Practice Manager has invited feedback from patients right at the start of the project. This approach is designed to help ensure that their new website has the right tools and content for the job.

Why did you feel that you needed to survey your patients?
My foremost goal is to ensure that the Practice’s new website is a truly interactive experience for our patients; that it encourages and allows them to do as much as possible online rather than in person at the surgery. Ultimately, I want to reduce incoming telephone calls and unnecessary appointments.
In order to do this, I need to understand things from their perspective; I need to know what they feel would make life easier for them. Once I know that, I’ll know what needs to be included in the new website’s design.

How did you go about the research?
Silicon Practice’s team worked with me to create a questionnaire which they’ve uploaded to our current website. It’s a list of sixty activities ranging from ‘request a sick note’ to ‘find out if there’s a health alert in the area.’ Of these activities, patients are asked to select their top five in terms of preference.

Why limit the choice to only five priorities?

Firstly, we were concerned that anything over five questions would prove off-putting. Also of course it would be impractical to include absolutely every single area which patients select, so limiting the choice to five gives us a sure-fire way to be more focused when it comes to defining the site’s tools.

How did you choose the questions?
Obviously the team and I here at Waterfield had a very good idea of what to ask, but Silicon Practice had a large input too. They’ve created many websites for other Practices and have had first hand experience of working with patient groups.

Why have you opted for doing the research online?
It’ll allow us to statistically measure patients’ needs, to rapidly analyse the results and know with certainty what features we’ll need to incorporate into the new site. By comparison, simply asking patients “What would you like the new website to do?” could lead to a plethora of subjective answers! This method immediately focuses people onto specific issues.

How did you make your patients aware of the survey?
I’m using the Practice’s social media channels, and also I’ve put posters in the waiting room. Plus I’ve temporarily re-formatted all the repeat prescription forms so that a small notice about the survey is printed out underneath the meds. And just to make sure that no-one slips the net, I’ve altered the switchboard’s on-hold and voicemail-invitation messages.

You can see the survey on Waterfield Practice’s website. The new site will be going live in the Autumn so be sure to keep an eye out for a link in our future newsletters.