2010 Tech Survey: Do You Have an Interactive Web Site?

September 1, 2010

Chances are good you finally have a Web site for your practice. That’s assuming you’re among the majority of physicians - 65 percent, according to our latest Technology Survey. But is your Web site much more than a page or two listing your practice location and contact information? Probably not. And should it be more? Certainly.

Note: This is the fourth in a series of blog entries delving into the results of our 2010 Physicians Practice Technology Survey. Full results are now available at www.physicianspractice.com/technology-survey.

Chances are good you finally have a Web site for your practice. That’s assuming you’re among the majority of physicians - 65 percent, according to our latest Technology Survey.

But is your Web site much more than a page or two listing your practice location and contact information? Probably not. And should it be more? Certainly.

Of the respondents who said they have Web sites, 72 percent said their Web sites were not interactive, meaning patients couldn’t submit prescription refill requests or make appointments online.

Having a sophisticated Web site doesn’t have to be a major endeavor, and it will be worth the effort. With all the free software and online widgets out there, you can create a pretty basic site yourself. For more interactive features, you’d probably want to call in the experts.

So why bother? First of all, patients are beginning to expect it. They interact with so many other sectors online (their banks, for starters), and they want the same level of service from their physicians. That goes for your existing patients, as well as those seeking a physician online who may come across your site in a search. It’s also a great marketing tool for your practice - communicate your expertise and your practice philosophy to prospective patients.

Second, the site can offer health information and resources to your patients. We already know they are going online for health information, so why not be the one providing it?

And perhaps more importantly, your Web site can help you out with some administrative duties, such as setting appointments, viewing lab results, and even collecting payment from patients. Think of the time you can save returning calls about results or fielding appointment requests. These tasks can be handled with a secure site (again, call in the experts for these capabilities).

Take for example one practice that has seen real savings in having sophisticated online capabilities. Village Health Partners needs fewer than 2.5 employees per physician, nearly half the national average in primary-care. (Read this story for more about their Web site savvy and how to improve your own services. And check out this story if you are ready to really trick out your site.)

Do you have an interactive site that’s proven useful for your practice? Tell us about it here. Or, if not, what’s your hesitation?