Create Better Patient Experiences With A Headless CMS

Whether your information shows up in search results (or not) is up to your CMS.

Carrie Liken

By Carrie Liken

Jun 27, 2023

4 min

Consumers expect exceptional experiences with brands today — and they're quick to switch to a competitor if they don't get what they are looking for.

This is especially true in the healthcare industry. Patients are looking for a seamless and convenient experience, from the moment they start researching providers to the moment they leave the doctor's office.

With higher patient expectations (thanks to a rapidly growing number of healthcare options to choose from and conditioned by consumer brands like Amazon), patients and consumers are already prioritizing providers that reduce friction and streamline the digital experience — and those organizations use headless content management systems, or CMSs.

Healthcare Organizations Need Flexible Technology

If your marketing team needs to rely on your IT teams or developers to navigate your CMS, or if proprietary coding languages and rigid templates make it difficult to customize digital experiences, your organization is likely depending on a legacy system.

Legacy systems are applications, programs, or other forms of technology that are outdated by modern standards. These older systems can be hazardous: in addition to unoptimized user interfaces, they can be expensive to maintain, pose security risks, and make it difficult to work with new technologies. Additionally, legacy systems make omnichannel experiences nearly impossible to manage —which is troublesome because inconsistency decreases consumers' trust in your brand.

But legacy systems don't just affect organizations: that outdated interface is easy to spot for consumers and patients, too. It's not just how these systems look that give away the outdated systems behind the webpage: the patient experience fractures when there's inconsistency in information, like when the hours on your website don't match what is on your Google Business Profile listing.

In fact, according to Accenture, 50% of patients say that a bad digital experience with a provider ruins their entire experience.

It's crucial that healthcare organizations adopt a better, more flexible CMS to create the best possible patient experience. Whether the solution is replacing a legacy CMS with a more contemporary platform, or simply augmenting your existing CMS's capabilities by adding a more user-friendly interface, the message is clear: today's consumers expect you (and your tech stack) to accommodate the modern patient journey.

Your Content Should Leverage SEO to Increase Visibility

In the past, a healthcare organization's website was considered the "front door" of the patient's digital experience. However, with the rise of mobile devices, voice search, and the proliferation of information (online and offline), the search experience is the new front door of one's healthcare journey.

Whether your content shows up in search results or not is up to your CMS and the content within it. For visibility in the search results, your team should focus on E-E-A-T and structured data. E-E-A-T is Google's lingo for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. These are the four factors that Google uses to rank websites in search results. If you want your website to rank highly in search results, you need to make sure that your content meets the E-E-A-T guidelines: it's from a trusted source with first-hand experience in the topic at hand, is authoritative to readers, and demonstrates expertise in healthcare.

Secondly, you need to ensure that your data is structured within your CMS so that you can represent relationships between data points (e.g., Dr. Smith is a specialist in cardiology and works at 123 Main Street and at 456 Broadway). Structured data is increasingly important for ranking in search engines. It's how you represent relationships between information, and the search algorithm 'reads' these relationships through schema markup language.

By structuring your data in your CMS, you can tell Google what your content is about, and how it's related to other content. Essentially, you're making it easier for Google and other search engines to find the information that your patients are looking for. Structured data within your headless CMS also powers other experiences, like conversational AI — and may be the key to surfacing your business in Google's new Generative Search Experience.

Your Headless CMS Is The Connective Tissue Between Your Information and Patients’ Digital Experiences

Healthcare organizations tend to have a lot of content on their owned websites. This information is important to help patients and consumers access authoritative, trustworthy information about conditions, treatments, procedures, doctors, locations, and more.

This is also why it's important that healthcare systems make this information dynamic. Not only does this make your content more engaging for patients and consumers, but it also ensures that your health system's information is easier to find across other channels.

Yext works with organizations that have incorporated a dynamic search experience on every page of their website. For example, a health system's website may surface "mitral valve repair" content, but it'll also support a search experience (referencing structured data in Yext Content) that surfaces your cardiologists who perform mitral valve repair. You can also set your webpage content to incorporate the description of the procedure with your providers who treat it, the locations where those providers work, and appointment booking opportunities — all on the same page.

A headless CMS syndicates information to search engines like Google for external discoverability, and also flexibly displays that content on the health system's website. This dynamic content encourages better discovery on owned properties and improves SEO off-site.

By augmenting your tech stack with a headless CMS, creating content that meets E-E-A-T guidelines, and structuring data to power dynamic content, you can create a truly exceptional patient experience.

Explore Yext for Healthcare

Give search engines and your patients, members and consumers the information they need to choose you in search.

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