How Content Makes or Breaks Your Digital Patient Experience

Content on websites, apps, social and other digital patient support platforms frequently gets overlooked, but providing personalized and relevant content is at the heart of delivering an unparalleled patient experience. 

Health literacy is one of the most multifaceted challenges facing the healthcare industry. People tend to underestimate the importance of educating themselves about their health, but for those who are compelled to learn more, nearly half will search for resources online. Too often, however, if they’re even able to find what they’re looking for, the experience is substandard. 

This article provides an overview of how health brands can prepare content to not only meet patients’ health literacy needs, but also deliver an unsurpassed experience.

Identify needs of digital health users

A company’s perspective on health literacy is heavily guided by their culture and understanding of their users. Generally, content approaches fall into two schools of thought:

  • Inside-out thinking: Content is created based on assumptions about what is needed and the audience is then sought to engage with it.
  • Outside-in thinking: Research is conducted to determine what users need, want or are most likely to share and content is then created to meet those findings.

The inside-out approach can leave companies frustrated that their content isn’t performing as expected, whereas the outside-in approach requires more initial investment in research. But that investment needn’t be substantial in time or money. User testing can cost as little as $150 USD and take 48 hours, with automatically generated reports.

Research highlights voids in wider content offerings and health companies able to fill those gaps can help patients, while also stoking their affinity for the brand. 

Analyze content against research

Once user needs have been identified, every single unit of existing content must be assessed against the acquired data. To aid in this prioritization exercise, our Creative & Experience Design team uses a matrix that consists of four categories:

  • Keep - Purposeful and effective content that should remain part of the digital experience.
  • Combine - Similar items with high user engagement that can be streamlined together.
  • Create - Content that doesn’t exist, but is worth producing.
  • Kill - Content that isn’t being read and doesn’t fulfill any of the identified needs, so can be removed.

Much like pruning breathes fresh life into a garden, this exercise reinvigorates the content, ensuring it provides the utmost value for its audience.

Use digital to ease searches

With search algorithms, content can be presented to specific users. For example, two patients seeking information about two different medications could see their respective content when they arrive at a pharma brand’s homepage.

Delivering exceptional digital patient experiences requires an intricate mix of automation and analytics. It’s difficult to get right, but with technological advancements the lift isn’t as intense as it once was. Our team can design virtually any content experience within about 16 weeks and the time required depends simply on scale. The process itself remains constant, regardless of the solution.

Check the content library

Beyond getting the most relevant content in front of the appropriate audience, there are still two important elements of a robust and effective content library.


Ensure there’s enough! Creating content can be expensive, time consuming and tough to get through compliance, which hinders companies from having enough materials within their new patient support program. 

The good news is, health brands don’t have to create all the requisite content from scratch. They can repurpose existing materials from their print or other digital assets. They can also partner with advocacy groups who are often willing to have their content featured elsewhere. Leveraging these initiatives can lead to an end result that’s remarkably vast.


Content should have a tone and pace that matches the audience. Doctors typically want to complete their search within two clicks (about eight seconds) and will expect granular detail. Whereas seniors, who have the lowest health literacy, will want to find what they need easily, but ingest it slowly and in a more accessible manner. Content intended to assist with overcoming health literacy challenges should:

  • Be in a format that’s preferred by the audience
  • Be written at a comprehensible reading level (eg. 4th grade)
  • Be written in the patient’s language
  • Include visuals - diagrams, graphics or videos
  • Include straightforward recommendations, where appropriate

Clear and understandable content goes a long way to increasing engagement and providing a satisfying patient experience.

Improving health literacy could decrease unnecessary hospital visits and save Medicare programs tens of billions of dollars a year. Health brands have the opportunity to contribute to these positive outcomes by embracing digital content solutions. Companies that provide readily available, informative resources will set themselves apart with an incomparable patient experience. 

To discover more strategies for enhancing your patient experience, download our white paper, Changing Lives: Five Strategies for Differentiated Patient Experience.

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