With 42% of U.S. consumers reportedly using smartphones in 2009 and 72% of physicians reportedly using smartphones this year, it's evident that to remain competitive, hospitals and health systems must create, update, and perfect branded mobile-specific Web sites. Recently, Southern Regional Health System and Children's Hospital & Medical Center have done just that, and are already seeing results.
Southern Regional, in Riverdale, GA, created a mobile-friendly site "to allow smartphone users to rapidly access key information without the long delays that typically occur when trying to open Web sites on mobile devices," says Marcus Gordon, strategic marketing manager for the health system.
If a user on an iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, Android, or another type of smartphone navigates to www.southernregional.org, he or she will be automatically directed to the health system's mobile-specific site.
"The new platform enables mobile Web users to quickly retrieve address information, phone numbers, directions, and maps to Southern Regional's facilities, as well as phone numbers and addresses for doctors affiliated with the health system," Gordon says. "The mobile site is a natural extension of our Web presence and supports our Web strategy of improving the healthcare consumer experience."
Children's Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, NE, also launched mobile-specific sites in May. In addition to creating a mobile site for www.childrensomaha.org, the hospital made mobile sites for its foundation and physician sites.
"It is expected that nearly 70% of all information searches in the next five years will include a mobile device," Martin Beerman, Children's vice president of marketing & community relations, said in a release. "We understand families are on the go more than ever, and the mobile versions of our hospital, children's physicians and foundation sites have been created to target those mobile needs."
Both Children's and Southern Regional understand that it's just as important to pay attention to the branding of mobile sites as it is for any other online initiative. This is especially true since, as Beerman says, the number of consumers going online via mobile phones will only increase.
"Each mobile site integrates similar graphics, color palettes, and popular content that build on our proven successes," says Brad Shaink, Children's Web strategist. "We incorporate more multimedia, podcasts, and focused information than most organizations in our industry."