But these advantages don’t happen automatically. You can use a number of positive design and maintenance strategies to optimize your site and get the most possible from your investment.
Because a Web site has almost unlimited capacity for content, make sure that yours includes the information and services your patients are seeking. Here are some quick tips for building an effective Web site that attracts patients, and more importantly potential patients:
- Doctor information: Include a brief biography and a recent photograph. Make sure the picture isn’t of the driver’s-license-hospital-ID variety. Candid shots—or posed shots that look candid—are much warmer and more inviting than portrait-style pictures. Don’t include your entire CV—few patients understand or care about your publications and presentations.
- Graphics: Photos of your facility and staff add an attractive and human touch. Patients enjoy seeing a familiar face and coming to an office they recognize from the site. Posing a few staffers as patients allows you to convey what it’s like at your practice from day to day. (It’s a good idea to get a signed release from each staffer granting permission to use his or her image on the site.)
- Medical information: One of the toughest categories of content to manage, medical information must be:
- General,but clearly related to your specialty;
- Up-to-date; and
- Linked to other sites with reliable information.
- Contact information: Although many storefront and manufacturer sites hide contact info in the back pages, put yours right up front and in the header of every page in your domain.
- Interactive services: Patients are getting used to rich Web sites. They do a certain amount of their personal business electronically—why not with you? Consider adding some of these online services:
- Appointment requests;
- Registration and health-history forms;
- Prescription refill requests;
- Information inquiries; and
- Bill payment.
- Reliable, fresh content;
- Patient-friendly, interactive services; and
- A professional-looking layout that’s pleasing to the eye and easy to use.