In today’s information-driven society, it’s vital that all medical practices have an online presence. Websites have become the first, last and absolute impression for patients online. According to Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, approximately 61 percent of American adults look online for health information. As more and more consumers are turning to the Internet to make decisions about their health care, being available online is critical to remaining competitive in the market.
Every practice needs a website. A good website will:
- Establish a digital presence. Few people still look to phone books and directories to find business information. If you want to be found by current and prospective patients, it’s imperative to have a presence online. For added value, consider including search engine optimization (SEO) to improve the visibility of your website in search engine results.
- Enhance Your Brand. Your website should be an extension of your practice’s identity. A well done website will reflect your company’s individuality in the design, color and graphics of every web page.
- Humanize your practice. The physician/patient relationship is important to health consumers. Share information about yourself and other physicians on the website. Include physician photos, bios, academic backgrounds, hobbies and spoken languages. Add a photo of the clinic and staff and share positive patient testimonials.
- Be a health care resource. A strong website establishes your practice as a medical authority to patients and the health community. Include a list of disease prevention and management tips for patients, share published articles or write a blog that addresses aspects of your specialty. These efforts support patient confidence and build your professional credibility.
- Allow for convenience. Your website can become a portal for patients that are short on time. If possible, create online forms where patients can request appointments, records, lab tests results, or prescription refills. Even bill pay is now accessible to patients on some websites.
- Communicate with patients. Keep patients updated on anything going on in or around your practice. Share recent media coverage, announcements and upcoming health fairs or seminars for current or potential patients on your website. You’ll be surprised how interested your patients are!
- Stay up-to-date. It’s important to provide current and accessible contact information for patients or referring doctors to reach you. Check and update your website regularly with correct contact information such as phone and fax numbers and email addresses. Incorporate a link on your website to Google Maps and offer directions.
- Be progressive. Consumers associate a technologically savvy practice with a modern approach to medicine. So include social media links to your practice’s Facebook, Twitter or other social media pages. Remember, a social media presence is equally as important as having a website. In fact, it supports SEO and is a way to reach new patients!
No two medical practices will require the same type of marketing efforts to be successful. Some practices need additional online brand management or social media pages to promote their website and support online marketing efforts. This is why it is critical to work with your marketing agency to develop a proper online strategy suited to your practice’s needs.