Why Your Medical Website Needs to Move Beyond Marketing

Medical Website Marketing

Healthcare has been a notoriously slow adopter of digital trends. But today, medical professionals understand the importance of keeping up in this tech-savvy age. As well as improving their level of efficiency with practice management systems, most medical providers now have a business website to promote their services.

However, whilst many have a website, not all are utilizing it to its full potential. Yes, as a digital promotional tool it should effectively showcase your team, your services and your products. But why stop there? Your website can also function to enhance your service offering. By using digital tools to help meet patient needs you can improve their experience and streamline your business.

Patients Have Grown to Trust Digital Channels

According to a 2014 survey by global research experts McKinsey, patients around the world have grown more comfortable with using digital networks and services when it comes to healthcare. In fact, 75% of respondents were happy to use digital healthcare services.

In addition, out of all the digital channels available, a website topped the patient channel preferences across all age groups. So, if patients are embracing online services, as a healthcare provider it’s time to be thinking about how you can make your website work harder.

Make Your Medical Website Work Harder

To stay one step ahead, your website should not just do your marketing, it should also be a practical business tool through which you can better deliver your service and satisfy patient needs. Being innovative in terms of employing the latest flashy website features is not important in healthcare. What is important is including features that will offer added-value to patients, and your practice or clinic.

According to the same McKinsey survey, patient’s expectations when it comes to healthcare are rather basic: efficiency, better access to information, integration with other channels and the availability of a real person if the digital service doesn’t offer them what they need. Therefore, focusing your website efforts into delivering on these fundamental needs can be extremely effective.

Use Your Site to Provide Better Access to Information

To make your website an effective service delivery tool, it should not be viewed solely as a one-way communication channel for promotional ends.

Across the healthcare industry, patients, clinicians and providers alike are realising the benefits of turning website into a go-to platform for health information specific to their field. Including quality content and useful resources can be a great way to help you deliver on the patient need for better access to information. This can be done by including some of the following on your site:

  • Updates on current industry news
  • Blog posts focusing on relevant topics and questions people ask
  • Educational or instructional videos that explain procedures or services
  • Links to external sites – for example, if you are a GP practice you could include a link to My Health Record, so people can access and update their medical information. Alternatively, if you are an independent chiropractor, dentist or physiotherapist it might be useful to add a link to any professional bodies you are accredited with so patients can check your authenticity.

Optimize Your Website with Useful Features

Making your website a valuable source of information can be a great way to attract and retain patients. But by including interactive features and turning it into a two way communication portal, through which you and your patients can exchange information efficiently, you can gain that competitive edge.  Here are two ways which are both simple and effective.

1. Embed online forms

Online forms can be added to your website using code and can be easily customized. By allowing patients to access forms before they arrive at your clinic you can save time for both your patients and staff. The types of forms you could consider including are:

  • New patient forms
  • Medical history forms
  • Referral forms
  • Prescription refills forms
  • Contact messaging forms
  • Billing forms

Patients expect confidentiality so ensure all your forms are secure. You could also include patient satisfaction surveys to allow patients to give feedback.

2. Add an appointment booking tool

By giving patients to power to book their own appointments, you are offering patients an efficient way to access your service, and lessening the endless stream of phone calls. Many in practice management systems, such as Cliniko, have a real-time appointment booking feature which you can easily embed into your website.

You can also set up online booking using specialist software such as Ozdocsonline and HealthEngine. As well as integrating with your practice management systems they can be added to your website quickly and efficiently using a web plug-in.

The key to a successful healthcare website today and in the future is ensuring it meets the changing needs of patients. Non-digital channels, such as phone calls and face-to-face consultations, will continue to be important in healthcare. But by leveraging the power of digital and using your website to better deliver your service and not just as a marketing channel, your business can really benefit.