A patient’s primary concern for any healthcare provider is this: Can I trust you?
Believe it or not, your website is often the first place they will go to find a suitable answer to that question, and their first impression of your site will ultimately influence their decision.
That’s why it’s important for every healthcare provider to have a website, but more so, that website needs to include a few trust-building elements to ensure that trust is built from the very first click.
So if you’re looking to boost patient confidence, here are 7 things you need to include on your site.
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You should absolutely include all your services on your website, preferably in a predominant location. While it may seem obvious to you or your regular patients, potential patients – like those visiting your website for the first time – may not know about everything you offer.
This is especially true if you offer specialty services or anything that would differentiate you from competitors. The more information you can give for each service, the more likely a patient will be to schedule an appointment.
If possible, list services on separate landing pages. Not only does this improve your search engine ranking for those services, it also gives you room to answer as many questions as possible or address concerns about your services that would prevent patients from scheduling with you.
Doctor and Staff Information
Your patients will also want to know about your staff or any practitioners that will be making medical decisions on their behalf. Prospective patients in particular will feel more comfortable during their first visit if they can put a face and name to those in your office.
If your practice employs several doctors or a large staff, including a staff directory can be helpful, and again, including doctor or staff information on separate landing pages will boost SEO and offer more substantive information for first-time visitors.
You can include credentials like where they went to school and any other specialties, as well as a short, personal bio alongside a high-quality photo.
It may also be beneficial to include doctor or clinic ratings somewhere on the site, or to link to reviews, testimonials or personal recommendations from current or former patients, which will boost the credibility of your practice.
Pricing and Insurance Information
Aside from services and doctor or staff information, the other key component that visitors will look for is pricing and insurance information. Healthcare prices are not always as straightforward as other industries, and many potential patients may be deterred from services where no price is listed.
They may also be wary of any practice that doesn’t accept insurance, or may have additional questions about whether or not their insurance will be accepted, how much it will cover, and what it can be used for.
While you won’t always be able to answer every insurance question on your website, you will want to include as much information as you can. Be transparent about your pricing, what insurance carriers you do accept, what exceptions a patient might encounter, and any other applicable fees.
It’s also a good idea to include information about billing practices, or, if possible, a way for patients to pay or view their bills on your website. The more you can do to reassure them that they can afford you, the more likely they will be to schedule their appointment.
Speaking of which, making it as easy as possible to schedule appointments will also help get them through your door. Online scheduling in particular is a great way to build trust and increase patient satisfaction.
Some of the most common complaints from patients are long wait times and the time it takes to make or change an appointment. According to a recent Accenture study, it takes around eight minutes to schedule an appointment by phone, and over 30% of that time is spent on hold. Online scheduling, on the other hand, works in a matter of seconds and is available any time of the day.
Online scheduling also helps reduce missed appointments, as patients can receive a reminder via call, email or text as often as they need. It also reduces the time that office staff has to spend scheduling, sending appointment reminders, and chasing down missing patients.
You might also need to include some information for patients on what they can expect on their first visit, as well as other best practices for working with office staff, like when the patient should notify you if they miss an appointment or what paperwork they will need to fill out.
It may be helpful to include a FAQ page or another landing page that details the first visit experience. Including photos and other information may be helpful to minimize anxiety and help build trust with first-time visitors.
The Heart Hospital of Lafayette’s website, for example, has an entire menu dedicated to their patients and visitors to answer questions regarding anything from visiting hours to accepted insurance and where to eat at the hospital. Camelot Brookside, a long-term care facility, uses their FAQs to answer questions about their rooms, security and cost.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Patients should also have the ability to access any intake forms they will need before they come into the office. This can mean downloadable PDFs they fill out and bring with them (or email to staff), or, better yet, online intake forms that can be processed automatically.
A few of the top reasons to use online intake forms include:
- Improved productivity – Staff spends less time processing completed forms
- Easy access to patient data – Information is stored online and can be accessed at a moment’s notice, making it easier for staff and doctors to use it during a visit
- Convenience for patients – Patients can fill out electronic forms at any time and from anywhere, saving time at check-in and reducing waiting room anxiety
Switching to a completely online intake form system will also save on paper costs as well as give you greater flexibility for adding or changing information should you need to update your forms.
Last but not least, you should definitely include contact information in a prominent location on every page. Even with all the information on your site, patients may still have questions or concerns, or they may just genuinely prefer to schedule an appointment over the phone.
It’s best to include list your address, phone numbers and hours for each location (if you have more than one), and to list them on a separate contact page as well as at the bottom footer of every page. The more accessible this information is, the better.
You should also add information for other ways patients can interact with you online, including any Google+ listings, social media pages, or review sites like Yelp or Healthgrades.
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The easier you can make it for patients to learn about your practice before they step foot in the door, the better the experience will be for everyone involved.
Include any information you feel a first-time visitor would need, and don’t assume that patients will know something about your practice automatically. Take the time to answer as many questions as you can on your website, and make it easy for them to access any documents they need prior to a visit.
Whatever you do, don’t bury your information. Build trust with complete transparency and patients will be more likely to come and see you (and come back to see you again and again).