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Enter 2012 With a Strategy: Building Your Patient List With a Savvy Online Presence

 

Most businesses and service organizations today–including dermatological practices–appreciate the benefits of an effective website.  An effective practice website always keeps the end-user in mind: the potential patient.  Ask yourself: what would a potential (or current) patient need to know when they arrive on your website?

Some Derm practices give potential patients the opportunity to perform many previsit tasks online, including the completion of insurance and other standard forms. An effective website may also take the strain off of your receptionist and allow for taking and confirming appointments, and requesting medication renewals.  The website might also provide valuable information to potential patients, including posting office policies and procedures and providing helpful directions with maps to the office.   

More advanced practice websites might allow a patient to review their own medical history information, obtain test results, and view online billing.  

In addition, practices in communities where English is a second language might offer online materials in another language as well as English. Although not always perfect, Google Translate is an excellent (and free) option for materials placed on your Derm practice’s website.

However, the forward-thinking Derm practice goes well beyond the technological realm in their online strategy.  

What is ultimately most important? 

What is most important in our online and offline world is strengthening our relationships with current patients, building new relationships with potential patients, and providing more effective patient care by using all of the current resources available.

While Derm practitioners may be familiar with various social media networks in their private lives, more practices are taking advantage of those opportunities, and putting their private experience to work to benefit the practice.  All this, while keeping HIPAA compliance (closely) in mind.

For example, many dermatologists attract and provide information to potential patients by writing regular blog posts about specific health conditions, treatments, and procedures.

Many practices have Facebook business pages, with basic information linking back to their websites.  These Facebook pages essentially function as mini-websites for the practice. Some practices also have a presence on both Twitter and LinkedIn.

Some practices have posted videos on YouTube in order to describe new treatment options for dermatological problems.  In addition to YouTube, you might even consider using Vimeo to show video tours of your office, always remembering to provide links back to your practice’s main website.

While some have benefitted from utilizing the personal and professional experience of those within the practice in developing a more effective online presence, others have sought assistance from web professionals: graphic designers, web developers, and communications specialists. Each practice should assess the skills and time available and determine which approach is best for them.

source: Modern Medicine

[image by Tim Samoff]




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