Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Trevor Parsons, ITinvolve Blog, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

Blog Feed Post

Medical Websites: Physician Heal Thyself

I remember landing my first real job and having my first insurance card. I was not only proud of my accomplishment; I was thrilled that I had health insurance. That may sound strange, but I did not have medical insurance for much of my childhood and for the years I was in college. Being able to go to any doctor I wanted was more than a treat. It was fantastic!

I was equally excited the first time I realized the power of the internet and I could see it had the ability it had to change the world. That may sound just as strange, but I’m fairly passionate about internet marketing, so it was a powerful and memorable day for me.

Ellen Mae in BlueOne day the two experiences collided and I realized medical professionals and websites just don’t seem to fit within the same universe. Or at least that has been my experience with our metro Detroit physicians.  When I realized this disconnect, I felt deflated.

As advanced as these professionals are with healthcare and medicine, technology, and in particular internet marketing, tends to escape them. Or frighten them. I’m not quite sure. But I struggle with it, because I know there are tons of excellent health professionals who need an internet presence.

I also know there are many consumers (aka future patients) who need a solid method for researching healthcare professionals. Something tangible, that provides credible information, that tells you which physicians serve a particular practice area, where they are located and how and when you can interact with these professionals.

I haven’t come to this theory lightly. I’ve lived in the suburbs of southeast Michigan for over two decades and I haven’t met one doctor, dentist, or healthcare professional that I could say was rocking the internet.  This pains me, because I believe in internet marketing and I know it can make a difference.

An Illustration of My Point

To illustrate my point, we’ll use me as an example and review my team of medical providers and their online presence.

  • Family Physician – No website. Just a listing on Google Local with two reviews. One is horrible and the other is adequate. My doctor’s office is dated and the doctors themselves are close to retirement, so the lack of internet presence is not surprising. I’d love to find a new family doctor, but I’ve not had success locating one on my own. By nature I would use the internet to research available options.
  • Endocrinologist – My endocrinologist, who I greatly admire, looks at me with confusion when I speak of technology. He believes no one ever uses the internet to search for potential doctors therefore he refuses to build a website.  He is highly intelligent and for seven years I’ve driven 45 minutes each way to visit him every four months.  Yet the only things you can locate about him on the internet are bad reviews on websites like Vitals and Heathgrades. When I refer people to him, I purposely give them all the contact information so they don’t go look for him online. I know my doctor would like more patients, but he refuses to take one step into the online world.
  • Obstetrician and Gynecologist – This group is a bit different. They have a website and the team of doctors blog monthly. They not only blog, they use Facebook and they send a quarterly newsletters to patients.  I can tell you the feedback on Facebook is great and I know that they do receive new clients from their blogging efforts. They were not always like this, but when I rambled about internet marketing and how it could help, they listened. I wanted this team to be a success. They are great doctors who have served me well for a decade.
  • Dentist – I love my dentist. He is kind, caring, and he puts up with my neurosis. The dental offices does have a website, although it is not user friendly and it looks like a coder designed it. But at least I can find information when I need it and I have some place to send people when they ask for referrals.
  • Orthodontist – My daughter’s orthodontist is also a wonderful medical provider. He has an old and outdated website that is anything but user friendly. The orthodontist is highly approachable and so willing to share his insight when you are with him in person. His website is just the opposite. When I refer people to him, I give them all the contact information so they don’t go look for a website. I know his website does not come close to projecting the quality of care available from this provider.

Are Medical Providers Afraid of Technology?

Daniel-in-RedWhy are doctors so afraid of taking that leap into technology? Why do so few have real websites, with real information, that you can actually find on the internet?

I think many doctors don’t believe in the power of search. They do not think real people search for physicians via the internet. They are wrong. Really really wrong. And even if they were a little right, patients still vet referrals out by Googling the physician’s name.

Again I come back to the fact that I would quickly switch to a new family physician if I could find one I liked in my area. My husband has been begging me to do so for two years.

Industry Best Practices and Advice for Building Medical Websites

I wondered if I was being overly critical or if just expect too much from this industry. I’m a nerd and maybe I’m wrong. People might not use the internet as much as I think. So I asked around and here is some feedback I received:

  • “The content on the site should be geared for the 6th grade reading level. Rather than using words like “oncology”, use “cancer” because those are the terms people are search for and familiar with.”Leah Luddine from TrendSetter Communications
  • “People often want to do their own credibility checks. Not having a website may  make someone question how long the practice has been in operation.”Anthony Kirlew from AKA Internet Marketing
  • “As a financial planner to dentists, I frequently discuss the importance and cost/benefit of various marketing proposals.  I see more and more dentists using social media (primarily Facebook), some quite effectively. A surprising number of small dental practices are just now coming online with web sites, very few use e-mail communication with their patients, more use texting.”Sharon Weaver from Mission Financial Planning, Inc.
  • “Social Media is important, but can be extremely time consuming when done properly. Most clinics will not have the resources to stay active on Facebook or Twitter. We encourage our clients to have each practitioner at the office write one article a month to post on the blog and share.”  - Nadeem Kassam from Connect the Doc
  • “Professional websites can also build a level of trust with a potential patient early on. If a website looks dated or less professional, it can lead patients to believe that the practice is also dated, or lacks quality. By having an up to date, professional looking website doctors can build trust up front with potential patients doing research online, while also better serving their existing patients with the latest news and information from their practice.”Mike Wilton from Plastic Surgery Studios

Along Came an Idea

Nancy-in-PurpleA few months ago my friend Rachel came to me with an idea. She owns an internet marketing firm and she wanted to work with medical professionals to help them with internet marketing and ongoing patient communication. When she mentioned the idea of creating WordPress themes for medical websites I jumped at the chance. I thought it was a great idea. After all, I already knew the need existed and now Rachel (who I know to be excellent at what she does), wanted to get her company more involved with this industry.

So this fall my firm create three medical WordPress themes specifically designed for this niche. With Rachel’s guidance our graphic designer crafted three different theme options that were designed specifically for small medical offices like doctors, audiologist, dentists, chiropractors and the like. The WordPress themes offer an excellent solution, as they are professional looking while still being economical.

Our new WordPress themes include three different websites designs:

Any of these three themes could be used for a host of medical websites. They all have the same premise: easy of use, easy to find contact information, and social sharing options. All three themes are available for purchase in our online theme store.

Still Fearful of Launching Your Own Website?

If you like one of these themes, but you’re not quite sure if the whole DIY website thing is right for you, have no fear.  If you’d like assistance setting up one of these medical website, Rachel and her team at The Inforum Network are available for assistance. They’ll not only set up your new website, they’ll also manage ongoing content creation and newsletter management.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Rebecca Gill

Founder and President of Web Savvy Marketing, a Michigan based internet marketing firm that specializes in website design, organic SEO, social media marketing, and WordPress consulting.

@ThingsExpo Stories
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
“With easy-to-use SDKs for Atmel’s platforms, IoT developers can now reap the benefits of realtime communication, and bypass the security pitfalls and configuration complexities that put IoT deployments at risk,” said Todd Greene, founder & CEO of PubNub. PubNub will team with Atmel at CES 2015 to launch full SDK support for Atmel’s MCU, MPU, and Wireless SoC platforms. Atmel developers now have access to PubNub’s secure Publish/Subscribe messaging with guaranteed ¼ second latencies across PubNub’s 14 global points-of-presence. PubNub delivers secure communication through firewalls, proxy ser...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...