December 20, 2016
It doesn't matter if you practice family medicine, pediatric medicine, rehabilitation, or some other specialty - potential patients are trying to find you.
It could be someone new to the area, maybe they are seeking the right pediatrician for their first child, or they have been referred by another doctor; no matter the reason, potential patients are looking for a physician. In most situations, they will typically go to the web first when looking for information about your medical practice or to find a doctor that meets their needs. Hopefully they find that you have a web presence of some kind. Although if it doesn't provide answers to their questions, they will most likely leave your website never to return. How can you ensure they find the information they need and stick around? Here are some good practices to follow:
Most people don’t access the internet from a desktop or laptop computer any more. Their go-to device is typically in their pocket or purse. According to Google, more searches are done on mobile devices and it makes sense, because it is easy and accessible. If your website isn’t easy to use on a mobile device or tablet - your patient will most likely be frustrated with the user experience. Plus search engines like Google rank mobile websites higher than traditional fixed-width websites.
When patients are in a hurry it is extremely frustrating for them to hunt for your contact information. What can you do to cut down on this frustration? Display your phone number and a link to the contact page on every page of your website. Ideally, these links would be in the header or top of the website so that they are easy to find. This way patients can easily get in touch with you. On your contact page be sure to include information about emergency and after hours contacts as well.
One of the driving factors for a patient is health insurance. Be sure to include an updated list of which insurance plans your practice accepts; at the minimum, direct them to contact your office if they have questions. This way users can be more aware of their coverage even before scheduling an appointment.
Every practice has forms that assist in the on-boarding of new patients or gathering updated information from current ones. These forms should be posted on your website as PDF forms which a patient can download, complete at home, and provide at their appointment. Better yet, create a fillable PDF form that allows them to type or autofill their information before printing it. Through the content of your website you can easily instruct patients to download the forms before thir appointments. If your practice uses an EMR system like EPIC, be sure to direct users there to keep their information up-to-date.
When a patient is searching for information, you want to make their experience as pleasant and easy as possible. Short paragraphs, bullet lists, and casual easy-to-understand writing will help users navigate faster. When it comes to the visual design of your website, keep in mind the demographics of your patients and the devices they will be using to navigate the website and design accordingly.
These are just a few best practices that can help when designing, building or updating your practice’s website. Following these can help enhance the user’s experience and increase patient satisfaction, not to mention help get a higher ranking on search engines when people are searching for a physician.
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