Friday, September 23, 2011

Medical websites Help Clinics Compete Against Large Hospitals

Practicing medicine in the private sector is a very tough proposition. It’s not enough to be a very good doctor. You should be known to be a very good doctor. It’s not enough to provide all the latest treatment options and services. Everyone should know (or be able to find out easily) all the services provided at your clinic/ hospital.

Traditional Healthcare Communication Meant Word-Of-Mouth Publicity

Traditionally, physicians and medical practices have relied on word-of-mouth publicity to establish themselves. A patient who has undergone an event-free angiography at the local cardiac care center would then tell five others about his/her wonderful experience. So now five more people know about the latest angiography services at that cardiac center. Hopefully, this positive review continues in a geometric progression as more and more people visit the medical center. But is that enough? What about the high tech cardiac catheterization and latest stenting services also available at that center? There would be hundreds of bits of positive details about your hospital most patients don’t even get to know of. Hoping that all visitors to a medical center realize all its plus points and then remember to pass these plus points to others is so optimistic, it’s foolish. Thus word-of-mouth publicity serves a very limited role in evangelizing any healthcare services.

Challenges In Healthcare Communication

Medical practices can no longer rely only on word-of-mouth to inform the world about their existence. But they also face a big handicap. They need to make themselves and their quality services known without resorting to overt advertising. Clinics and smaller hospitals face a specially forbidding challenge in breaking through this glass ceiling of ‘perceived quality’. Sheer size has allowed larger hospitals to carry an aura of quality, irrespective of the services they provide. In contrast, many clinics which provide top-of-the-line services are just not accorded due respect or simply remain unknown.

Medical Websites In healthcare Communication

Despite providing the best services, many small practices are labeled ‘poor quality’ simply because of low visibility. Technology has broken down this artificial divide between small and larger medical practices. A high quality website has become the single most important way to establish your credibility, authority and niche online. Websites and social media channels provide an easy to access free platform for showcasing your expertise to any targeted/ segmented population.

A website becomes the way people remember and recall your clinic. A website creates a visual brand for your medical practice, allowing strong recall value even among people who may never have visited your clinic. With the help of a high quality medical website, a niche specialty clinic can achieve the same recognition as many large super-specialty hospitals.

Beyond branding, the practical utilities medical practices can provide the patients via their websites are plenty. Appointment scheduling and lab reports can easily be accessed via medical websites. Interactive patient communication widgets and electronic health records can add an entirely new dimension to the concept of medical websites. To know how a website can transform your medical practice, kindly write to

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Digital Identities for Providers and Provider Information Sources : Using IT to facilitate Information Therapy

The logical first step to creating rich Databanks of Provider Information is to create identities for Providers in the electronic world. The simplest way to do this is to Create Websites for Doctors, Clinics and Hospitals. This may not necessarily be individual websites for practices which don’t want to invest in one, but can even be simple informative single web pages to fulfill the purpose of creating an identity for them aka

Such websites can be optimized to convey Services, Location and Contact Information, Medical Notes, Special Cases treated. Such optimization will help in disseminating useful provider information to people looking for the same. This isn’t advertising, it’s a service: people today face many choices and are hampered by lack of information, improving their ability to find information quickly is beneficial to them. 

For those Practices and Practioneers who decide to engage IT to create digital identities (web sites), the following guidelines must be provided: 

-- On your website, don’t only talk about you, tell the patients more about what diseases and disabilities you treat, what are the latest treatments, generic advice and maybe even help them going to right person if you weren’t involved. 

-- Use tools like interactive patient forms which can be filled before the patient arrives at the center

-- Use query forms on the website so that patients can ask you about their problems and doubts; this gives the feeling to your patients that you are available to them 24/7 without actually being there 

As was the case with Medical Information Sources, Advancements in Social Technology will provide new ways for sharing Provider Information. 

Technology Vendors must provide easier ways for Provider information to be located and searched and which is available of different types of media.

-- Create Directories of Providers based on Provider Information

-- The Directories allow for Feedback on providers in a controlled environment

This is the 3rd Article in a series of Articles on Using IT to facilitate Information Therapy by Nrip Nihalani and Aditya Patkar

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Using IT to facilitate Information Therapy : Medical Information Sources

To effectively facilitate Information Therapy, Information Technology must bring about a marriage of ideas with utility; IT has to ensure all actors in the medical ecosystem come together to improve information management for the benefit of the patient, the staff and decision-makers throughout the healthcare sector.

Medical Information Sources

IT vendors must work at creating Healthcare and Medical Information Knowledge Bases. These can be about medicines, diagnostics, decision trees, side effects, precautions, treatment data and more.

Technology should evolve to allow for more effective ways for Updating Information in such Knowledge Bases. These could be based on curation, criticism, collaboration to ensure that it is self adjusting, effective and patient-centered.

Advancements in Social Technology will provide new ways for spreading this information.
Innovation in Delivery mechanisms will provide easier ways for others to consume this information

This will help
-- Create Informed Patients
-- Create Valued Sources
-- Ensure poor sources are filtered and rejected

In the next article we'll look at How Establishing Digital Identities for Providers(Doctors/Clinics) and Provider Information Sources will enhance the spread of Information Therapy
 This is the 2nd Article in a series of Articles on Using IT to facilitate Information Therapy by Nrip Nihalani and Aditya Patkar

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Using IT to facilitate Information Therapy

The end customer in the business of Medicine needs information. Everyday technology adds new ways in which we store and share this information for many to use, reuse, improve and share some more.

In this day and age of the Internet, Mobile Phones and Social Media; Patients are empowered with the possibility of Real Time Communication, 24/7 Access to Information and Live Community Feedback. Today’s patients have been exposed to numerous possibilities besides the ones which our forefathers would know of. This exposure has empowered this generation of patients to ask for better care, better facilities, cheaper alternatives, and more useful ways of using technology to provide healthcare as well as healthcare information. However, in spite of large amounts of information available today, a big problem that exists today is that the information is not necessarily usable when it is most needed.

To effectively facilitate Information Therapy, Information Technology must bring about a marriage of ideas with utility; IT has to ensure all actors in this ecosystem come together to improve information management for the benefit of the patient, the staff and decision-makers throughout the healthcare sector. Only then can Information Therapy be provided to various participants of the health care ecosystem through the different stages of an illness:

- Diagnosis and information gathering

- Finding a Provider

- Soliciting Second Opinion

- Accepting a diagnosis

- Participation in research

- Being an champion or advocate

For Technology to be successful at this there should be sustained focus on different avenues of Information Therapy. We explore 5 avenues in this series:

- Medical Information Sources

- Digital Identities for Providers and Provider Information Sources

- Patient Provider Communication

- Health Information Exchanges

- Online Health Communities

In the next Article we'll look at Using Medical Information Sources to build the foundations of a Digital Ecosystem in Healthcare, thus creating a useful paradigm for providing Information Therapy

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Medical Practices Planning Websites Need 8 Answers Ready

All Top Websites should concentrate on a few things; Appearance, Content, Functionality, Ease of Usability and Search Engine Optimization. Medical websites are no different. They are just more focused. So once the basics of design and technology are taken care of, Medical websites need much more than form to rise to the top. Before you jump into the online world for reputation management and brand enhancement, all medical professionals and practices need to ask themselves some questions first. To focus your medical website for the right audience, you need to have these 8 answers ready when you plan your digital excursions:

1) What are the Three Top adjectives that describe your practice and Three Top services you provide:
All medical practices have some USP that distinguishes them. You should have yours defined before you create an online presence.

2) Who is your competition:
You are the best judge of your own competition. That’s where your patients go to when they don’t come to you. The same goes for the patients looking for Doctors online.

3) Which medical websites do you appreciate:
Your affiliations online decide your digital brand. Choose some idols of online medical presence and follow their best practices. Always link to and comment on good quality content.

4) Is there anything you don't want on your web site:
Your aversions decide you as much as your affiliations. Have a clear brand strategy for your professional appearance online.

5) What do you want visitors to do when they get to your site:
Have a clear navigation plan for your visitors and decide where you want them to finally land up on your website.

6) How do you want the web site to help your practice:
Know what you want to do and why you are doing it.

7) Do you have a collection of all digital media you might have created over the past 5 years:
PowerPoint slides, videos, text articles or posts online are good resources for high quality medical websites. A regularly updated website will always do better for your brand than an outdated one.

8) Do you plan to delegate people for managing your complete online presence via social media and PR:
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and community platforms are the crux of an online presence. You need skilled people managing these channels for you 24/7/365. That’s a long term question ideally decided when you start a website.

Websites For Doctors allows you to create high quality websites by a simple template based process. You can check some examples here.
Ankur Fertility Center
Om Pathology Lab
Dr Manoj Pradhan's Athena Heart Care Clinic

You can contact us here.