Updated: Aug 2
For All the Medical and Dental Professionals
The medical and dental fields are often overlooked when it comes to maintaining a digital presence. Healthcare professionals have long sustained their practices without websites and social media accounts, so it can be difficult to understand how going online can improve an already thriving organization. However, even established medical and dental professionals with full schedules of patients can benefit from an online presence. In this next installment of our blog series on online growth tips for specialized industries, we’re taking a closer look at how websites, social media, and digital marketing are gaining importance in medicine and dentistry.
Protect and Build Your Reputation
Similar to the trades and contracting industry, medical and dental professionals often rely on referrals and “word of mouth” interactions with colleagues and existing patients to build their practice. Before any digital techniques were available, healthcare professionals did have the option of finding new patients for their practice through traditional marketing, like billboards, flyers, or commercials (radio and television). However, advertising in these ways was often perceived in a negative light, particularly because, for a doctor or dentist, it may seem like a desperate measure for a slipping practice.
Thankfully, digital marketing via websites and social media channels functions differently than traditional marketing, and it can emphasize and further build your practice’s reputation and credibility. Even though “word of mouth” recommendations are still common for patients looking for a new doctor or dentist, the majority are still using the internet to research and read reviews before calling to make an appointment. Your website then becomes a key first point of contact for prospective patients. As such, you can reinforce your practice’s reputation by listing the credentials of your team, education, achievements, and notable memberships. With this valuable information listed online in an accessible and attractive website, prospective patients will sense your professionalism and take one step closer to reaching out for an appointment (Image courtesy of Allea.org).
Improve Administrative Efficiency
Staff in a healthcare office spend much of their day answering phone calls, completing paperwork, and doing other in-person administrative tasks. While most offices have discovered routines that allow staff to complete all these duties in a streamlined manner, a website can further improve efficiency with automated scheduling systems and digital documentation. Instead of calling into the office and potentially waiting on hold to book an appointment, your patients could be filling out an online form at home. They might input their availability or select a few dates and times that would work for them, and your website could send them an email confirmation once office staff have completed the booking internally.
For patients that might need frequent documentation regarding their condition, a website would save administrative staff time and resources. Instead of printing out doctor’s notes, prescriptions, and referral forms, everything could be digitized and stored on a patient’s account. The patient could then email them or print them out if hard copies are needed. Of course, such freedom of access should still be carefully regulated by staff, such as with document expiration and the need to contact the office for additional or repeat copies.
Share Information about Services
Websites function as central hubs of information for any product- or service-providing business, and medical and dental professionals are no exception. While healthcare providers are not normally selling products to their patients online, that doesn’t mean that they can’t use a website to share information about their services. As prospective patients research where they might want to seek medical or dental care, listing all your services on your website can give your practice a competitive advantage. If your medical office has specialized services like a psychiatrist, a dietician, or a physiotherapist on staff, it is certainly worth showing clients that this sets your team apart from the others they may be contemplating.
Your office might also consider creating a frequently asked questions section on your website to further convey information about your services and general practice operations, like holiday closures and which professionals are taking on new patients. All of this information is useful for both existing and new patients, and a website is one of the most accessible places to store it. As you develop your website, you can continue adding additional pages and sections to share whatever information you think might be helpful for your patients. You might even consider providing a comprehensive, dictionary-like guide to illnesses, conditions, and procedures in the future. Accessible information on your site fundamentally gives your patients better peace of mind knowing they can go directly to a credible and familiar source to find the answers to their pressing questions.
Put Faces to Names
Beyond credibility, reputation, efficiency, and information access, websites and social media serve another important purpose for the patients of a healthcare provider: community. For many, going to the doctor or dentist can be a challenging experience. Those suffering from mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder may find it difficult to seek help for ailments because they don’t feel comfortable interacting with their healthcare provider. However, doctors and dentists can use websites and photo-based social media like Instagram to alleviate some of these stresses and create a more welcoming environment for all patients.
While providing information about your office and listing out your staff can be helpful for most patients, photos can be an even more accommodating measure. Uploading headshots of your staff to your website with short biographies can convey a better sense of community to your patients, especially if they might have just switched to your office from an old provider (example pictured above; courtesy of Freepik.com). Similarly, for those who haven’t been to an appointment for some time, photos are an easy way to refresh memories and put faces to names. Uploading photos of the office environment can be helpful as well, especially for children and those anxious to attend their appointment. You might even consider making an Instagram account for your office as a kind of photo album with pictures of all staff and links back to your website for further information and the ability to book appointments. When it comes down to it, photos are one of the elements of a website you might ignore if you are a healthcare provider, but they go a long way when it comes to patient trust and comfort.
Some Sample Websites You Can Check Out!
Beacon Health and Wellness and Dr. Asma Dental Clinic are examples of medical and dental office websites which put all of the above suggestions to use for an effective and powerful online presence. If you are a medical, dental, or other healthcare professional, and you would like to begin building your own website, please reach out to the CodeMasters Inc. team to set up a consultation to discuss your needs and ideas.