Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Yakov Fain, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Lori MacVittie

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
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
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 ...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, representing a model of how to analyze rea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Open Data Centers (ODC), a carrier-neutral colocation provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Open Data Centers is a carrier-neutral data center operator in New Jersey and New York City offering alternative connectivity options for carriers, service providers and enterprise customers.
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
The IoT market is projected to be $1.9 trillion tidal wave that’s bigger than the combined market for smartphones, tablets and PCs. While IoT is widely discussed, what not being talked about are the monetization opportunities that are created from ubiquitous connectivity and the ensuing avalanche of data. While we cannot foresee every service that the IoT will enable, we should future-proof operations by preparing to monetize them with extremely agile systems.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. Learn about IoT, Big Data and deployments processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ mission-critical systems. ISS has completed many successful projects in Healthcare, Commercial, Manufacturing, ...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to make sense of it all.
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gary Hall, Chief Technology Officer, Federal Defense at Cisco Systems, will break down the core capabilities of IoT in multiple settings and expand upon IoE for bo...
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics archive, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Kaskade, Vice President and General Manager, Big Data & Ana...