Is the Traditional Website Dead, in Healthcare?

In an age of social media, Facebook, Twitter, smartphone apps, 140 characters and the gamification of all manner of activities, 1-second Vine videos, 6-second Vimeos, and Hollywood-standard YouTube productions, one may wonder if the traditional website still has any relevance? The answer is a resounding Yes! The reality is that any healthcare organisation in possession of a digital presence, must be in need of a website.

The traditional website has evolved from the picture-heavy websites of Web 1.0, to lighter, more intuitive and more sophisticated Web 2.0 designs. A quick look at the Top 41 healthcare websites show breezy designs coupled with clear purposes for these organisations. This move to Web 2.0 is a necessary development for the traditional website to maintain its relevance in the face of the social media “onslaught”.

There may be three reasons why the traditional website will continue to maintain its relevance, provided it continues to evolve to meet the needs of the customers:

  1. The gravitas of the organisation

Healthcare organisations (especially those that engage in disaster relief and aid work) are doing important work, and should not let Facebook be their anchor or reference point in their communications with the outside world. It’s not that Facebook is not credible, but that social media has a tinge of youthful abandon and a lack of seriousness in its raison d’etre. Healthcare organisations probably need an “all of the above” approach to their communications platform, and require a website to be their anchor point, complemented by the various social media apps. A proper website would lend instant credibility and gravitas to a healthcare organisation, that social media won’t always be able to.

2. Transfer of adequate and meaningful amounts of information

It is difficult to transfer adequate or meaningful amounts of information through 140 characters in Twitter, or in a 1-second Vine video. Therefore, an intuitive and interactive website will still do the job more effectively than new-age social media, in transferring adequate and meaningful amounts of information. It can be the main anchor of a comprehensive communications platform.

3. Websites meet the needs of baby boomers who are more likely to donate

While it’s true that there is a growing movement towards donations through social media, the backbone of these donations are still processed through paypal or through a website platform. In addition, even with all the greatest intentions in the world, the millennial generation isn’t as wealthy or as generous as the baby boomer generation, who would be more likely to donate through a website of a reputable organisation.

So given the three reasons above, the traditional website remains relevant in healthcare communications even today.


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