According to a study done by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 80 percent of Internet users, 93 million Americans, search for health-related topics online. Moreover, 63 percent of them will decide to choose a healthcare provider because of a strong web presence.
But it’s not only a younger audience trusting medical professionals’ online image. Nine out of 10 patients age 60 and over say that past patients’ reviews are an essential factor in their decision-making process.
A strong web presence builds reputation and credibility, attracts new patients, and cultivates loyalty. Here are a few tips that may help your practice’s online presence grow.
5 Best Practices for the Web
#1 Update your practice information
Include up-to-date practice information, such as the days and hours of operation. Make sure to immediately update the site when there is a change, including holiday closures or a new email address.
#2 Create educational and informational materials
Develop a web presence that provides educational and informational value to readers, which is updated regularly. This way, both patients and non-patient visitors are encouraged to revisit your site from time to time.
#3 Utilize online appointment scheduling
Include an appointment functionality that is both convenient and secure. Integrated schedulers and forms pull information directly from practice management software. This means your patient stays on your site and has a more brand-friendly and distraction-free experience.
Eyefinity Practice Management software can be readily integrated into your website, creating a seamless appointment scheduling functionality that encourages patients to visit your office and provides more efficient practice management workflows. You can learn more about Eyefinity® integrated scheduler here.
#4 Respond to patient reviews, positively
Prospective patients take past patients’ reviews seriously. Thus, when your site encourages patients to post their reviews, your practice is presented as more credible. Responding to patient reviews promptly is key to ensure positive reviews in the future and to show potential patients that you care about feedback.
#5 Encourage customer service requests
You can install a chatbot, including the popular Facebook Messenger, on the front page of your site, which encourages visitors to contact your practice if they have questions. Being proactive in trying to help patients goes a long way in building trust and loyalty. It lets people know that you’re willing to make the effort to make things as easy as possible for them.
A strong web presence can be designed with both the patients’ and the doctor’s interests in mind. With credible and accurate information online, optometrists can build a flourishing practice and strengthen their reputation in the industry and their communities.