12 Website design tips for doctors to grow your medical practice
While word-of-mouth and referrals are great ways of getting patients, it should be remembered that many patients go online seeking more information. Given that several people move from one city to the other it is also likely that they may not have enough contacts in the new city to provide them with referrals about specialist doctors. It is important for doctors to understand how patients search for doctors online. The starting point is to have an amazing website.
Many doctors are of the opinion that websites are not relevant to their practice. Nothing can be further from the truth. Building your personal brand is important. Listing your experience and credentials is important. Building credibility with your patients is vital. This is where your personal website helps. It is your website – you can take it with you while switching clinics or hospitals.
1. The doctor profile
A sense of trust is created when a doctor lists the educational credentials, memberships, specialisations, and content on the conditions treated, on the website. A professionally designed doctor personal website creates a feeling of trust amongst patients. They need to get a feeling of comfort which gets enhanced when all these along with information about other staff is also displayed. Details of other career highlights such as awards won, papers publications and talks delivered enhance the doctor’s brand and enhances trust in the doctor. Membership of Medical Associations can also be provided.
2. Credible and trustworthy content
Your website should have content about the conditions you treat, information on advances in your speciality, blogs explaining topics of interest that are relevant to both patients and referring doctors in addition to videos, before and after photos of patients especially if you a cosmetic surgeon or dentist, procedures that you perform and the do’s and don’ts of how patients should deal with their medical condition.
Most patients feel confident if your website has credible and trustworthy information. No one can argue against the fact that content is king. Imagery is also important as pictures are worth more than a thousand words.
3. Feature to Book an appointment / Contact us page
The doctor website should preferably provide patients with the ability to book an appointment with the doctor. An appointment booking widget is most preferred by patients as they can look up the doctor’s schedule and book an appointment based on the patient’s convenience. Many doctors and clinics prefer to display the clinic contact details (phone number and email) so that patients can get in touch with the clinic.
The only disadvantage of this is that the phone may not be attended to in late evenings or early mornings. Contact us page in the website allows patients to contact you and ask questions- or seek appointments.
4. Frequently asked questions or FAQ’s
Patients always have several queries. The pareto rule applies here as well. 80% of the patients will have the same set of questions. Patients would be well served having all commonly asked questions being responded to in one place so that patients do not have to visit multiple sites to get their questions answered. The doctor can ask patients to refer to this section of the website, it is also likely that patients who have already gone through your website will ask these questions infrequently
5. Patient Reviews and Testimonials
It is highly likely that a patient booking an appointment, if not recommended by a referring doctor or a friend/relative, would look at search engines to look for a doctor to treat a particular medical condition. It is highly likely that the patient would look at reviews as well. Patient reviews in many cases can be misleading. There are several doctors who do not agree with and express discomfort with the way they are rated by patients.
We have had instances where doctors are agitated that they are being rated much like restaurants in food sites. Patient ratings can be very skewed – most patients are likely to rate doctors when they are at the extreme ends, very happy or very unhappy. Doctors treat patients keeping in mind their wellbeing which in some cases may annoy the patients into giving a poor rating.
We recommend that doctors ask their patients for their rating and address their concerns proactively before they go to other sites and give a poor rating. The doctor website should carry testimonials of patients as it serves to reassure patients.
6. Integration with Electronic Health Records
Handing multiple software to manage the patient journey can be quite taxing. Since the entire patient journey can be thought of as a series of steps starting from patient information, appointment booking, consultation and practice management journey, the doctor would be better served by having one single software where all these are integrated. It improves clinic or practice efficiency, reduces cost as you do not have to deal with multiple vendors to manage the software and lets the doctor access all the information in one place – a single source of truth. If the electronic health record is integrated with the website, there are significant benefits for the doctor.
7. Patient Portal
An integrated patient portal is convenient for patients. The patient portal provides patients with easy to access information about their health including doctor summaries, medication history and invoices. In some cases, the patients can request prescription refills as well as appointments. Doctors can communicate with their patients through the patient portal.
8. Mobile Responsiveness
Users expect that all websites are mobile responsive and work well on all devices – laptops, desktops, tablets and above all mobiles. The experience should be uniform across different browsers and devices. Search engines penalise websites that are not mobile responsive. The website on a mobile must be user friendly and leverage the native features of the device. For example, the user should be able to call the clinic directly using the number provided in the website.
9. Unique and custom design and easy to use
Users and potential clients can be engaged using interactive designs, appropriate colours and should have call to action buttons. A well designed and custom website looks professional and well meaning rather than a website designed based on a template. The pages should open quickly and the overall site navigation should be friendly and convenient.
10. Leverage social media
Social media if used diligently has several benefits for both the doctor and the patients. It is important for you to link all your social media accounts to your website so that patients can educate themselves from your posts.
Patient reach can also be better achieved. You can communicate with your existing patients. Others can also reach out to you on social media. A connect with the larger audience is also better achieved. Communication with the audience with posts that instantly connect and draw attention helps in acquiring new patients.
11. Links to other credible sites
You can never provide all the information you wish to in your website due to audience limitations. A vast majority of your visitors will not be interested in reading detailed information about your speciality which may be difficult to understand. We suggest that you keep the content on your website simple and easy to understand and provide reference sites for those visitors who would like to explore more. These links if provided from your website are likely to be considered trustworthy and credible.
12. Mobile Apps
Providers are better able to serve their patients if the patient medical history is available on their phones in a secure and convenient manner. Android and iOS mobile apps are increasingly becoming popular with doctors to communicate with their patients.
Doctors, medics, physicians, dentists, psychologists and for that matter all healthcare professionals with the license to practice and having their own clinics do not have the time to design and manage their own website. A fully managed service such as the one provided by Genamet is the way to go. At Genamet, all aspects of the doctor websites including custom design, content updates, maintenance are part of the monthly subscription.