Eight Mistakes That Can Sink Your Practice Website

Morgan Lewis Jr.

Disclosures

July 05, 2012

In This Article

Introduction

"I have plenty of patients. Why do I need a Website?"

That's a very common mindset among many doctors, but it's missing the point of why it's important to have a Website.

There are several other benefits to having a Website, including lowering your administrative costs; spending less time on the phone answering routine questions; and increasing the number of loyal, engaged patients. Today, some patients won't even see a doctor who doesn't have a Website, because they don't think he or she is up to date technologically.

But the Internet is rife with physician Websites that not only accomplish nothing, but also make the physician practice look bad because the site is unprofessional. Or, conversely, you can see that the site took a lot of work and money, but it does nothing besides sit there, draining the physician's monthly budget.

Creating a Website is daunting, especially if you don't know anything about the mechanics of Websites or have no clue about what it will cost and what it can do. To help you create a useful, cost-effective, and successful Web presence, or redesign your current site, make sure you avoid the following 8 mistakes.

Mistake 1: Asking Your Nephew/Son/Daughter to Build Your Website

Asking a friend or family member to design your practice's site may save a few dollars, but it probably won't project a professional image to your patients, says Haroon Saleemi, senior project director for Physician Designs, a Web design and consulting firm in Dallas.

"The number one mistake we see, by a long shot, is doctors giving their site to someone with no experience, such as their nephew," he says. "Then their nephew goes to college, and the doctor is stuck with a Website they can't change."

You should probably fully review your Website at least once a year to see what's working and what's not, what has changed, and what new elements you might want to add.

Making the site yourself is almost as big a mistake. Learning basic HTML rules to design a Website yourself isn't complex, but it is time-consuming, says Tripp Bradd, MD, a family physician in Front Royal, Virginia and owner of Skyline Family Practice. Bradd designed his practice's first site in 1995 and has redesigned it over the years with several different software products. He now has a customized interactive site, built on a template, that offers virtual office visits and a patient bill payment feature.

"Probably the most precious commodity doctors lack is time," Bradd notes, so he advises keeping time constraints in mind when you decide whether to design your site yourself or outsource the duties.

Look for a firm that concentrates on healthcare exclusively, Haroon Saleemi says, or ask for recommendations from colleagues.

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