Health system educational centers are poised to take on exciting new relevance. As the number of people turning to the internet to search for health-related information grows, health systems have an opportunity to fill this demand for guidance. A recent dotHealth report found that healthcare-related searches are one of the most popular activities users perform online in the U.S. This is especially important as COVID-19 continues to keep many people at home.

Women and Millennials are more likely to go online for health-related education

In Corporate Insight (CI)’s recent Digital Health Survey, we found that over one-third of total respondents had searched for information about a specific health topic on sites such as WebMD or Mayo Clinic in the previous 12 months.

  • Women reported a higher use rate than men with a 9percentage-point difference. This is in line with their greater tendency to do their own research rather than fully relying on doctors regarding medical decisions.
  • Unsurprisingly, Millennials outpace Gen Xers (by 11 percentage points) and Boomers (by 14 percentage points) when it comes to seeking information about a specific health topic online. Their interest in education is a good thing, as it may result in positive health outcomes down the line.

Health system educational centers can fulfill need for online health topic searchers

With over one billion health questions originating from Google searches each day, health systems are well-positioned for users to end up on their sites. Users will be enticed by the wealth of relevant health information they supply. However, health system educational centers must offer a comprehensive database of health-related content, updated regularly with new and relevant items. This ensures patients get the most out of their healthcare provider websites. And that they have access to current educational information from a reliable source.

Health system educational centers can reach a wide audience with a smart range of topic coverage

CI recently assessed 15 health education centers across 12 organizations in the Health System Monitor coverage group. We found platforms cover a range of topics, with some promoting the total number of topics available to patients, which can often be in the thousands. While we do not evaluate every single topic covered on these platforms, we note the general and featured topics that organizations include on their homepages and overview pages.

  • Organizations that offer more specific health topics are those that utilize the Healthwise health library. These include Duke Health, Mass General Brigham, NYP/Weill Cornell and University of Michigan Health.
  • Other educational centers, such as Geisinger Krames Online and Mass General Brigham CareOnline, require patients to conduct a topic search before presenting any health content.

Health system educational centers infographic

CI continues to monitor the way the healthcare digital experiences evolve to benefit their patients and members. Subscribers can access the full Digital Health Survey report on our client portal. For further insights about changes to the healthcare space, read our continuing coverage on our company blog.