Enhancing Practice Visibility
Practice Web Sites
The importance of practice websites has grown considerably in recent years, particularlywith improved health plan sites that include provider directories online. New health planenrollees are increasingly choosing their primary care physicians using online directories. If only a handful of the practices in a town has a link to their web site in the directory, anew patient is more likely to investigate these practices first. Knowing as much aspossible about a new physician is very important for new patients and helps improve thephysician-patient relationship. There are multiple ways to create a practice web site including: free services, such asDBN Free Website: https://www.doctorsbusinessnetwork.com/free-website-hosting/;lower cost solutions, such as hiring a student to design yoursite; and finally outsourcing the project to a professional firm specializing in web design.A practice web site can be as simple as providing the practice name and address or ascomplex as providing online scheduling software and secure email messaging forpatients. For example, Medem offers online consultations that allows physicians tosecurely communicate online with patients and receive payment for their work. Medemalso allows office staff to communicate online with patients, other health care providersand trading partners through a simple, secure, eRisk and HIPAA-compliant network.Regardless of the exact mechanisms used, it is important that the style of the practice isproperly communicated through a web site.
Once you have attracted patients to your site, it is important to have information wellorganized that communicates the philosophies of practice. Some items to considerposting on your web site include: Names and specialties of all physicians and supportstaff, the specific services offered, health plans that are accepted, directions to youroffice, recent health news, a practice newsletter, and information on the practice’spolicies. Hyperlinks to clinical information that you feel is useful can enhance thecontent of your site and improve patient relations. However, it is equally important tocontinuously update the content on your site so your patients receive the most currentinformation. If you are providing incorrect or out-of-date information on your web site, itmay actually deter patients from your practice, as well as create some legal liability, soyou need to be cognizant of the message the site is sending to prospective patients.
Once your web site has been created, be sure to register it with the major search engines,such as Yahoo and Google, and inform your health plans so they can create hyperlinksfrom their online provider directory to your site. Finally, put your web address on allletterhead, new patient correspondence, brochures, business cards, and any printedmaterials that you distribute.
As the importance of your web site begins to grow, you might consider adding additionalservices online to increase patient satisfaction levels. Some practices are adding secureemail messaging to their website to increase office efficiency and provide improvedservice for patients. Clear policies on how patient email will be handled must bedeveloped, but the results can enhance the appeal of your practice. Other practices arescheduling appointments, processing prescription renewals, and streamlining a number ofadministrative functions by using interfaces on their website to improve patientsatisfaction and practice workflow simultaneously.