Online Business Considerations For Medical Professionals

Online Business Considerations

If you are a medical professional, taking your medical practice online is important especially after the COVID-19 crisis. And, using virtual platforms will help you share your expertise in the era of telehealth, online care, and customer relationship management. In this post, we’ll be discussing all kinds of online business considerations advised by digital experts for medical professionals.

With so many people using the internet to find and evaluate healthcare providers, you need an online presence if you want to survive. With that in mind, below are some of the most important business considerations for medical professionals today.

Web Design

The relatively short amount of time a visitor is willing to spend on your site before they decide that they don’t like your web design and move on, might shock you.

Good design, on the other hand, gets people clicking, browsing and increasing their time on-page. If the website is well-designed, has vibrant colours, and is well-organized, it will attract visitors and encourage them to stay for a while.

Then, why would anyone want to stay on a site that is dark and cold, with outdated visuals and a difficult navigation system?

Consider a website as your practice’s online office: when you walk into a well-lit, clean, and well-organized practice with friendly employees eager to assist you, you feel safe, at ease, and confident you have made the right choice in your medical profession.

If you walked into a business that was dimly lit, smelled strange, and had some very disgruntled employees mulling around, you’d be nervous and want to get out as soon as possible, and you would be unlikely to return any time soon.

The design of a website, including the medical logos you use, can elicit all of the same emotions in a patient and produce very comparable outcomes. A competent medical professional with a poorly designed website loses potential patients.

Custom Logo Design

Medical logos inform potential customers who you are, what you do, and how you might help them. It conveys to those who have no prior knowledge or experience with your practice that you produce excellent work.

People will mistrust your ability to provide services if your logo appears unprofessional. Have you ever used the back button or chosen one firm over another because they appeared to be more trustworthy? People make snap decisions, and bad design drives people away.

Create a memorable logo to guarantee that customers make positive associations between you and your brand. Keep in mind that logos have a strong symbolic connection to people’s memories and feelings and that there are plenty of free logo makers out there if you are trying to save on design costs.

Online Scheduling

With online scheduling software and plugins, the time that medical professionals traditionally spent on managing appointments can now be used to attend to more pressing matters.

All-in-one scheduling platforms will consolidate all relevant patient data in one location, substantially simplifying the process of scheduling appointments.

The doctor or admin can see the patient’s personal information, medical details such as allergies or chronic conditions, as well as requested services and preferences, all at once. As a result, doctors and nurses arrive at each appointment with all of the necessary information and resources.

With a web-based booking system, you get more than just scheduling. You also get easy employee and resource management. You get a useful tool for automating company procedures that frees up your employees’ important time and reduces the odds that your patients will be unable to schedule an appointment because staff are busy scheduling other clients.

Downloadable Brochures

The point of having downloadable PDF format brochures on your website is to provide patients with easily digestible information that combines visuals and text.

Brochure design is easy enough with the number of free templates that exist online, or you can include pre-written brochures from any providers and/or organizations with which you are affiliated.

It is usually a good idea for medical professionals to have the same brochures that they keep in their physical office location available as digital copies through their websites as well. Pay attention to package design and consistent branding when making brochures, both digital and hard copies.

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HIPAA Compliance

It is essential that information and protected health documentation entered into the website can only be seen by authorized persons within your company.

To do this, you need to make sure your employees sign a privacy agreement and make sure that only authorized people have access to PHI (protected health information). It is also important that any telehealth and virtual patient care is done in accordance with HIPAA video compliance.

HIPAA compliance also pertains to the way in which practice and patient information are encrypted. In addition to encrypting information once it is entered and submitted on your website, all files kept must also be encrypted.

You can buy and apply an SSL certificate for your website using storage encryption, ensuring that all online forms on your site are encrypted and secure. It is also important to make sure that emails containing PHI are sent using encrypted email servers.

When engaging with any service providers or third-party vendors who have access to any element of your website, make them sign a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement. Any third party who has access to PHI about your patients must execute a contract with you.

Document Management

A DMS works in the following way: paper documents are generated or brought into the office, clinic, or hospital, and they are scanned into the system. Each scanned document is indexed and either added to an existing electronic patient record or built from scratch.

By just typing in a search word into a DMS, you can cut the time it takes to access patient files. Each document converted to an electronic format is assigned a unique identity (typically an index number) and can be found using various search phrases. Physicians and administrators can quickly lookup a patient’s name and access their medical records, freeing up time for more value-added activities.

When working with large numbers of paper documents, mistakes are inescapable. Too much paper leads to clutter, which raises the chances of losing or misplacing important files and documents. It is also important to verify document to be sure that the information provided is true.

Utilizing a cloud document management software that is HIPAA compliant helps a medical practice do many things, but among the most important is its ability to improve patient safety while also shielding physicians from regulatory and legal repercussions.

Your Blog

The vast majority of consumers look for health information online and start their search for new medical professionals and services using search engines.

The important thing to note here is that most internet users never get beyond the first page of search results. Consequently, it is critical that your website appears near the top of the page.

While results vary with each Google algorithm change, data suggests that publishing to a blog and other social media sites such as Google+ on a regular basis can help pages rank higher in Google search results.

With respect to the latter, sharing your blog articles on social media pages expands your audience, which is why it is important to include social sharing buttons at the bottom of all your blog posts for readers who wish to share the content with their friends and family.

As with any content you produce, make sure your medical logos are prominent, and your branding is consistent throughout. Again, using a free logo maker is a great way to save on graphic design costs and the image should be used throughout your site, including your blog content.

Investing in SEO

In addition to things like a custom logo design for your site, investing in SEO means developing a budget. You need to consider how much time and money you are willing to invest in things like keyword research, content writing and link building activities.

The objective with SEO for medical professionals is to have your practice’s website appear closer to the top of the first page of the search results so that you are receiving a constant stream of organic traffic looking for medical professionals in their area.

SEO also includes on-page SEO, which is designed to make it easier for Google and other search engines to read, index and rank your pages and to give site visitors a more enjoyable user experience.

Telehealth Software

Telehealth has taken the world and medical profession by storm throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing healthcare providers to quickly expand access to, among other things, niche medical specialists using telemedicine.

It makes it easier for older patients or those with mobility issues to seek diagnostic and therapeutic care and for those living far outside of areas with significant healthcare infrastructure to seek care.

Telemedicine allows providers to stay in touch with patients and ensure that everything is going well following medical procedures and checkups. Telemedicine contributes to better treatment outcomes, whether that means using more extensive remote patient monitoring systems to keep an eye on the patient’s heart or scheduling a video chat to address medication issues following a hospital release.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a bit of a catchall term that encompasses many different best practices and concepts, including password and authentication issues, phishing, network security and education.

If your password for any of the applications or systems your practice uses is your favourite sports team, family pet, or anything else that is personally identifiable to you.

For example, you are begging for a cybercriminal to come in and steal your data. Your password should be a random combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, and it should be unique to the system to which it provides access.

For example, don’t use the same password for Facebook and your office programme. You can use a variety of strategies to build secure passwords that you will remember.

Being constantly on the lookout for phishing attempts that lure you into clicking on suspicious links or which ask for sensitive data or information via email are also important parts of running an online medical practice.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from cyber threats is to educate yourself and anyone who works for you. Employees continue to be the biggest cybersecurity threat for businesses across industries.

Education should explain both the how and why. If your staff understand why they should follow your policy (and practice appropriate security measures in general), they are more inclined to do so. Knowledge is power in cyber security.

Google Reviews

Because Google is a well-known brand, reviews left on their platform carry a lot of weight and can convince people to use your services. People take the comments and opinions of strangers on the internet far more seriously than one might think, especially when it comes to opinions on medical services and professionals.

Traditional SEO is still necessary, as are things like medical logos to ensure your brand is consistent and well-received, but when it comes to local search, Google reviews are crucial.

What’s more, review signals, which are focused on number, velocity, and diversity, drive a portion of Google’s search algorithm. Your practice will appear near the top of local search results if you have a well-balanced combination of review signals.

It’s beneficial to pay attention to what others are saying about your practice on the internet, respond to criticism and make sure your review pages contain current and accurate contact information.

Responsive Design

Businesses used to make two versions of the same website once upon a time–one for desktop users, the other exclusively for mobile users. Many people still do it today, but having two unique versions of one website is a time-consuming and high-maintenance strategy, especially as the number of mobile visitors grows. The more practical way is to have a single responsive website that works on all devices.

This ensures that your mobile viewers stay on site after arriving and are not deterred by a site that displays poorly on their mobile screen. While desktop users may have no trouble using a site designed purely for desktop, this is not the case for mobile and tablet users.

Make sure things like your package design, brochure design and images like medical logos can display well on a variety of screens. Pay close attention to large amounts of text as well, as those tend to display poorly on smaller screens.

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Conclusion

The opportunities to grow your medical practice and business online have never been better. Additionally, the ability to self-educate when it comes to the various design and marketing tactics that will attract new patients makes it straightforward even for people without digital marketing and design backgrounds. Doing business online as a medical professional requires an understanding of both the opportunities and threats that exist but, done right, can dramatically increase your patient base and market share.

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By Anne Carton

Anne Carton is a small business consultant, designer and an enthusiast blogger working with Designhill, one of the fastest-growing custom design marketplace. She has authored several blogs, articles and editorials on various topics related to interactive content, concerning design, social media strategies, growth hack strategies, digital marketing and e-commerce.