It’s amazing in the electronic world we live in today that so many practices are so far behind the times when it comes to websites. When was the last time you evaluated or had a professional organization evaluate yours?
Websites today allow providers to offer a wealth of information for their patients, collect patient demographics and history in advance of appointments, set up payment plans and perhaps, most importantly, market their business.
Here are a few pointers to ensure you are taking full advantage of your website:
• Make it “easy on the eyes”: Your website should be appealing. It should not be too busy, but should be easy to navigate and have a welcoming feel. Visitors should not need to scroll too far down a page to find information. The font should not be too large or too small. Make sure to have pictures that are inviting. Remember that if you are uploading patient pictures or documents related to a patient(s) that the file name does not include patient identifiable details.
• Update information on your website frequently: Many of the search engines will retrieve websites that have the most updated information; this is a form of organic search. In other words, when you perform a search on a platform such as Google and it pulls up multiple sites that are not paid for, that is organic search. This does not cost anything and is a great marketing tool.
• Implement a patient portal connected to your website: This will allow your patients to communicate with you in a secure online environment. It will also help you meet Stage 2 requirements of CMS’ “meaningful use” EHR incentive program. Think about how long you have been able to communicate with credit card companies and banks electronically. Doesn’t it just make sense patients should be able to do so related to their healthcare?
• Start a blog: If you are unsure of what to write about, think back over the last week. What was the most common question asked by your patients? Write about that. You can always refer them to your blog for extra information. This will also increase your searchability on Google, Bing, etc.
• Do your research: If all else fails, go online and see what other practices are doing. You do not have to recreate the wheel, you just need to make it your own!
• Outsource it: Let’s face it, sometimes you just do not have the time to do the quality job you need. When this occurs, outsource it. It is much better to pay a little more and have a website that will promote your practice in the manner needed than to halfway do it to try to save a dime. A functional, user-friendly website will pay for itself many times over. It is the electronic image of your practice.
Start with these tips and you will be well on your way to a memorable website that your patients will enjoy and will build your practice.