A content-rich, well-optimized website can help physicians practices recruit new patients and increase “stickiness” with existing patients. Whether your practice is looking to launch its first website or you are in need of a website redesign, be sure to keep patients’ wants and needs top-of-mind. Here are a few things you’ll want to be sure are included in your practice’s website:
An “About Us” section is a great place to include a general overview of your practice – what you treat, how long you’ve been in practice, etc. In this section, you’ll also want to make note of the practicing physicians’ credentials, including any awards, accolades or associated pro-bono/goodwill initiatives.
Prospective and existing patients want to know that you and your colleagues are up-to-date on the latest treatments and trends. They want to know that they are being cared for by “the best” and be consistently assured they are in the right place for their medical needs.
One can demonstrate thought leadership by adding a blog to their website and offering commentary/insights on timely topics and/or including a newsroom on their website where they can post media coverage, including expert interviews and/or bylined article placements in industry publications.
While this should go without saying, don’t make people hunt for an address, phone number, etc. Typically, “Contact Us” is a tab within a site’s primary navigation or prominently in another main area of the homepage. You want visitors to be able to see the information without scrolling – whether they are viewing the site from a desktop, tablet or smartphone.
Go the extra mile and include any important information on parking and handicap access to the building. If signage isn’t prominent on your building, you may also want to include brief directions, including nearby landmarks that can help patients find their way.
Online Appointment Booking
If your practice is setup for patients to book appointments online, ensure this functionality is seamlessly integrated into your website. With the automation of appointment reminders by email, text, robo-call and combinations thereof, this is a great way to reduce the number of patients sitting on hold with your office waiting to book their next appointment. It also allows the patient to book at their own convenience – flexibility they will greatly appreciate.
Online Bill Pay
If your practice is able to offer online bill pay, be sure a secure portal is integrated into your site for processing these transactions. To ensure easy access, put a button or highly visible link to the registration page on your homepage. If you’re using email marketing to drive traffic to your website, an online bill pay link is also great to include in a sidebar or footer of your communications.
Insurance Network Information
Which health plans does your practice accept? This can easily be communicated through a splash page of logos, with appropriate disclaimer language, of course. You can also opt to direct patients to call your practice or their provider directly – just make sure the approach you take makes it “perfectly clear” how patients can find the information they are looking for.
While hospital affiliations may be noted in a general practice overview and/or in physician’s individual bios, be sure prospects and patients alike know which hospital and medical centers your practitioners are affiliated with.
Social Channels (if applicable)
Social media can help to generate referrals to your practice. Google’s Think insights found that 84% of patients use both online and offline sources for hospital research. But they’re not just researching. Think With Google also found that 44% of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device scheduled an appointment. Social media is also a tool for sharing key takeaways from thought leadership events with which your practice and its physicians are affiliated. If you choose to implement a social media campaign for your practice, be sure your approach is HIPAA compliant and that you have clear parameters in place for what will and won’t, can and can’t, be shared. This is definitely an instance where the importance of having a social media policy in place that has been reviewed and approved by your legal team can’t be overstated.
Your practice’s website is part of the overall patient experience. Visitors want to be able to easily find the information they are looking for and complete the necessary tasks (appointment booking, bill pay) in a timely manner. Whether sitting in your waiting room, speaking with office staff or culling through your practice’s website, it’s all part of offering a great patient experience.