5 Things to Know for Launching an Orthopedic Practice WebsiteWritten by Laura Miller | June 29, 2011
Here are five things orthopedic practices should consider as they design and launch their websites.
1. Organize the website with five to eight accessible tabs. In addition to the home page, practice websites should have between five and eight tabs on the navigation bar to allow patients easy access to any information they need. The tabs should at least include the home page, patient education material, physician biographies, physician research, services provided and contact information. "Our philosophy is to have a simple user interface design," says Ted Epstein, Director of Sales at Medical Web Experts. "You want all the information to be right in front of the patient."
It is especially important for practices to have the contact information readily available for patients who found the practice through Internet searches. When people move to new communities or are seeking orthopedic treatment without seeing a primary care physician, easy access to this information is essential. Patients also like to see each physician's Curriculum Vitae when deciding whether they should enlist the physician's services. An impressive CV can attract patients who are looking for the most skilled professionals in the area.
2. Include physician profiles. Create a practice website that includes information about the physicians, patient outcomes and patient satisfaction. Physicians can have their own biography page that includes the expertise, professional accomplishments and affiliations of each physician partner. The individual pages can also include a head shot of each physician. Once the pages are ready, use search engine optimization to make sure the practice website is the first site that comes up when patients search for orthopedic surgeons in your area.
3. Upload photographs and video clips to educate the patient about orthopedic procedures. The website should include several photographs of the inside of the facility on different pages or as a compilation "photo tour." The images help new or potential patients visualize the facility before they arrive for their appointment, which can make the experience more comfortable, says Bill Rabourn, founder and managing principal of Medical Consulting Group. "It used to be that websites were very copy heavy," says Mr. Rabourn. The more attractive the website is for the patients, the more comfortable they will feel with the physicians and their procedures.
The website can upload professional animated videos of a procedure for patient education. Including the video can help the patient understand what his or her procedure will look like beyond a verbal or written explanation. "If we can get the website to read or speak to the patient, we think that's better," Mr. Rabourn says. Another way to use the video technology is by taking short video testimonials of patients at the practice talking about their experience. "We love to incorporate when possible video testimonials from patients about how the surgery center is unique from the hospital," says Mr. Rabourn. "We tell patients about the differences between the facility and their traditional experience."
4. Use the space to positively promote the practice and physicians through press releases. Compose new releases on new or "revolutionary" procedures you are performing, an upcoming event at your practice or a particularly heartening surgery you performed. Patients are able to connect with the human interest stories, and having them regularly appear on the Internet will increase your credibility. "Consumers often assume providers that advertise are more qualified simply by virtue of the fact that they advertise," says Daniel Weinbach, executive vice president of The Weinbach Group, a healthcare marketing firm. You can also lend your expertise to a news publication that prints online. If you ask somebody about how they heard about you or who referred them, if it isn't traced back to word-of-mouth marketing it can often be a well-placed article online or in a magazine.
5. Cross-utilize the website with social media to make it interactive and accessible. Offering links to social media, such as blogs or a Facebook page, on the website makes it more interactive with the patient. On his blog, David Geier, Jr., MD, is an orthopedic surgeon and director of sports medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, responds to patients' questions. Through a disclaimer, he clarifies that his response contains general information rather than a specific diagnoses or individualized treatment advice. Those who submit questions know ahead of time that Dr. Geier may feature them in future blog posts. He also encourages people to reach out to him via Twitter and e-mail, and shares the locations of his practice.
Related Articles on Orthopedic Practices:
4 Ways Orthopedic Surgeons Can Use the Internet to Their Advantage
500 Million Potential Patients on Facebook: Why Your Practice Needs Social Media
4 Points on Orthopedic Surgeon Online Reputation Management
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