The Four Basic Principles for Medical Websites
In the medical field, having the right website can make a difference between getting the right market and attention you want. And remaining obscure in an environment where having an online presence is vital. How can you ensure you have the right elements to attract the audience you want while satisfying the needs of your current and prospective clients?
Here are the four basic principles for your medical website:
- Social media integration
- Patient-focused content
Credibility helps your audience to evaluate the site and subsequently gaining confidence in it. For instance, a good site should specify if the content therein is fresh or dated and when the pages were last updated. The following should be observed to ensure you have a credible one:
- It should also have a disclosure of sponsors to tell who paid to develop and host the site; it usually is on the ‘About us page.’
- It should also describe advantages and disadvantages of treatments citing examples.
- A secure web presence also assures the audience of accurate and reliable information ensuring the medical site is according to the standards of HIPPA Security rule. The security rule provides guidelines for the transmission of patient health information and the personnel that can access it.
In 2007 it was noted that majority of patients brought information to doctors on the basis of credibility and the trend was primarily considered positive.
Consumer use of the internet for health-related content is growing is large and growing; more than 70,000 websites provide health content. Nearly half of internet users in the US had sought health-related content. An informative site is appealing to the audience because of its openness and a wide range of convincing information. Many patients seek disease information for consultations with their physicians.
- Doctor and staff directory: This is a helpful tool to have on your site. Potential clients will feel comfortable going into your practice, knowing more about the doctor than just your name. You can include details such as their specialties and a short bio alongside a photograph. The Lourdes physicians group is a great example of a doctor’s directory. It provides contact details, a picture, brief bio and a summary of medical training for each doctor.
- If a website provides specialty services in a field, it’s paramount that they emphasize on it: Not only does it inform your prospective patients what you can and cannot do but it also improves your search ranking for such services. A great example is the Gastrointestinal clinic’s service page where each service listed has its own page and additional information.
- The site should also have references as part of the informative basis: For example, the site should have citations from medical journals to support its claims and if so are they from peer-reviewed journals?
- Their contact and location information should be easy to access: Many healthcare sites crowd their homepages with details about the staff, programs, research findings and the newest equipment. Consequently, users must wade through multi-layered navigation to find a hospital’s contact details. Ideally, such info needs to be displayed on the homepage making it for visitors to make an appointment or seek consultation from the staff.
3) Social Media integration
With the social media buzz in modern society, a Twitter or a Facebook feed is pivotal in personalizing the user/patient experience of your Medical Websites. Additionally, it gives your center a platform for communication with visitors once they have left the clinic. The ability for visitors to share your center’s links with their network of families and friends increases the profile of your organization to potentially new clientele.
- Additionally, it should also have easy searchability along with making a good navigation design. Moreover, a search bar makes the user experience easier. Consider using nested category, sorted menu items headings and subheadings. With anything from clinical trial results and hospital community news, to doctor schedule and biographies, it’s advisable to have a site where users can skip unnecessary content and directly access what they want.
Finally, most people who visit a Medical Website are mostly current or future patients, or family members of patients. As part of the extended health care community, these people have a personal stake in the organization and need to be kept up-to-date on events, news, and medical breakthroughs. An excellent way for healthcare facilities to connect on a personal level with their patients is by integrating a series of blogs to their website. This will inherently allow you to provide relevant and timely updates as well as receiving feedback in the form of post shares and comments.
A blog can also be used to share industry news and announcements with your visitors. This keeps your site looking fresh and encourages visitors to come back and see what’s new and entertaining. The heart hospital of Lafayette uses its blog to post anything from community events such as the annual heart walk to heart-healthy – recipes and articles about living with conditions such as congestive heart failure.
4) Patient-focused content
According to a study conducted by the George Mason University, in 2012, medical sites usage increased the most when it was patient-oriented. It looked at a variety of various web pages usage drivers such as ‘quality’ and ‘in-depth’ content as well as accessibility. This means keeping the narrative first and speaking directly to patients rather than Medical practitioners or hospital benefactors. All of these blogs keep them connected with their community and the audience.
- Case studies and before /after photos are testimonials that promote website services than the results from real patients. When viewing services for the Acadian ENTs facial plastic surgery center, there are before and after pictures included for each surgery.
- Moreover, a site should install clear calls- to- action mentality such that when visitors come to your site, you direct them with clear calls to action such as find a doctor, contact us and tour our hospital.
It’s also helpful to have a single page explaining what to expect on their first visit for a particular procedure. The more details patients have upfront, the more comfortable they will be during the process. Furthermore, FAQS can be used and categorized according to the procedures, billing practices, and visiting policies.
Accessibility and patient-focused content were highly correlated with user retention according to the study.
The article delves into fundamental principles that constitute a proper medical website. It outlines and gives detailed illustrations on how you can effectively achieve this.