Today, your patients as well as potential patients are savvy about finding information about your medical practice online. With the availability of health and wellness information on the Internet, patients are more and more evaluating their care options the way they once would shop for a TV or an automobile. That is, they are finding out what their options are, comparing features, prices and reading reviews – often before an appointment is ever booked.
Wouldn’t you rather be the first voice they hear?
When it comes to deciding if your medical practice needs a website, (practice) size does not matter. A one-doctor shop, a hospital system and everything in between- they all need a website. Regardless of whether your medical practice has a website or not, patients and prospective patients will be searching for you online. What will they find first if it’s not information that you’ve supplied?
A page on a review site is not a substitute for your own website
Chances are a quick search online will result in listings on review websites like Vitals, Health Grades, Angie’s List and Yelp. All are great for accepting patient reviews and supplying basic information about your medical practice and the physicians, but they only give a snapshot of what you have to offer. Sure, it is absolutely important that your review site information is accurate – in fact, it’s a major component of our proactive reputation management – but nothing will ever be as informative for a patient as a stand alone website for your medical practice. You certainly do not want to ignore review sites all together, but they should be a supporting player in your online marketing strategy with your website as the main focus.
When you rely solely on third party websites to represent your medical practice online, you are giving up control of your brand. The review site decides in what order information is displayed, how many visuals you are able to provide (if any), the amount and type of contact information, the size and quantity of physicians photographs – the list goes on.
A website lets you take control of your online presence A dedicated website for your medical practice will allow you to be in charge of the big picture. You control the message, you control the format and most importantly you have full control over your information and how it is displayed.
Consider the following benefits:
- When you have control over the design, your website will reflect your medical practice’s branding rather than conforming to the review site.
- The ability to offer online appointment scheduling is a feature that can be offered directly from your website. Allow your patients to request appointments at their convenience.
- Patient testimonials and videos will say much more than a star based review system. Allowing your site visitors to hear and see real patients is extremely powerful and will give them a story to relate to.
- Something as simple as the ability to download intake forms allows your patients to save time by coming to their first appointment with everything filled out in advance.
- Providing a virtual tour of the office and facilities through video and photographs will give patients a glimpse into your state-of-the-art medical practice and show off what you’ve spent time and money to develop.
- Detailed information about the physicians and other key staff can be kept current, and you can highlight events and seminars at which they will be speaking.
- Detailed information about services offered and common conditions that your physicians’ treat isn’t limited by character counts. You can also provide supporting documents such as brochures and flyers for download.
- The ability to optimize your site for search engines – review sites are concerned about their own page views first and foremost. With your own website you can use Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing tools to drive traffic to your medical practice.
- The ability to update your content as you see fit with everything from additional text to a video library without being constrained by what review sites allow.
- You’ll also have the option to provide links to other helpful patient resources such as insurance information, current health and wellness news and partnerships.
A website allows patients to build a level of familiarity and comfort with your medical practice – all before they set foot in your waiting room. Your website will be a source for information that cannot be replaced with a simple page on a review site. Take advantage of your patients’ desire to learn about you online by presenting the best your medical practice has to offer.
At Points Group we are experts at helping you grow your medical practice. If you’re looking for help building and maintaining your online presence, contact us.