An evaluation and ranking of children's hospital websites in the United States

Timothy R. Huerta, Daniel M. Walker, Eric W. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Children's hospitals are faced with the rising need for technological innovation. Their prospective health care consumers, who increasingly depend on the Web and social media for communication and consumer engagement, drive this need. As patients and family members navigate the Web presence of hospitals, it is important for these specialized organizations to present themselves and their services efficiently. Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the website content of children's hospitals in order to identify opportunities to improve website design and create benchmarks to judge improvement. Methods: All websites associated with a children's hospital were identified using a census list of all children's hospitals in the United States. In March of 2014, each website and its social media were evaluated using a Web crawler that provided a 5-dimensional assessment that included website accessibility, marketing, content, technology, and usability. The 5-dimensional assessment was scored on a scale ranging from 0 to 10 with positive findings rated higher on the scale. Websites were ranked by individual dimensions as well as according to their average ranking across all dimensions. Results: Mean scores of 153 websites ranged from 5.05 to 8.23 across all 5 dimensions. Results revealed that no website scored a perfect 10 on any dimension and that room exists for meaningful improvement. Conclusions: Study findings allow for the establishment of baseline benchmarks for tracking future website and social media improvements and display the need for enhanced Web-based consumer engagement for children's hospitals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere228
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Internet
  • Patient education
  • Patient participation
  • Pediatric hospital
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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