Internet Fundamentals for Medicine

shutterstock_313765931There are three statistics which demonstrate that an investment in the Internet is wise in today’s marketplace.

-Over 100 million consumers search the Internet for healthcare information, according to Harris Interactive, Inc.

-Sixty-three percent of consumers say they would switch healthcare providers if they found credible content, email communication, or scheduling online, according to Jupiter Research.

-Surveys show that 77% of the people seeking healthcare information want to get it from a physician, according to Cyber Dialog.

Many practices today have websites in order to establish credibility for their practice on the Internet and inform consumers about the procedures that they are interested in. Adding a website page about the availability of a new credential, product or procedure in your practice, and your bio can be effective at drawing the attention of Internet healthcare seekers. In fact, a separate “satellite” website which denotes information about a specific procedure and your practice may compliment your Internet strategy.

Although the website is not the end or be all to a comprehensive strategy, it is typically an essential to foster patient trust in today’s marketplace. Many patients will go to the Internet in order to learn more about the particular procedure that they are interested in prior to calling a doctor’s office. They will type key words (relating to specific procedures and possible geographic locations) in order to research more information about a procedure that they heard about through a friend, the newspaper, television or radio. In fact, they will typically most often view only the first couple of pages within the search engine results for a particular procedure. This factor creates the need for strategies that will bring visitors to your website.

Tracking is very important in Internet marketing due to the competitive, ever changing nature of the search engines and the large number of medical practices seeking to reach Internet consumers. Website statistical packages offer tracking information about how many visitors came to the site, how much time the visitors spent on each website page, and much more. These packages are usually offered by the website development firm at no charge. Tracking within the practice is equally important. Many times, a patient will prefer to mention that they found the website through a friend rather than mentioning that they also saw the practice website. At the same time, many patients go to the Internet during the most serious stage of their decision making process. They want ammunition to take into the doctor’s office so that they can make a better educated decision. In fact, often Internet healthcare seekers will email numerous practices with the same question. Since emails are like phone messages to Internet users, they are very attracted to practices that respond quickly and efficiently to their requests. While there is “no guarantee” that an Internet strategy will result in patient acquisition, it has been an effective tool for many practices today. At the least, an Internet strategy demonstrates a practices’ understanding of consumer needs, and a means to establish credibility with information seekers on the Internet. Embark on an Internet strategy for your practice today!

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