A Web site refresh: E-enhancements help you communicate better

It’s no longer enough to just have a Web site. Here are some ways your practice can maximize your online presence.

By John McCormack, AMNews correspondent.

Michael Rothschild, MD, is so enamored with computers and graphics that in addition to his New York-based medical practice, he runs a Web site design service. Yet, the pediatric otolaryngologist admits, he sometimes doesn’t update his practice’s site often enough.

“I really should redo the Park Avenue ENT site,” he says. “It has been too long.”

Dr. Rothschild is not alone. While just having a Web site was the goal a handful of years ago, physicians now are realizing those sites require nurturing.

Rosemary Nelson, a Syracuse, N.Y.-based physician practice management consultant, recommends that physicians re-evaluate their Web site goals, design and functions at least once a year.

“Doctors recommend an annual health maintenance exam for patients. They need to do the same thing for their practice. And during that exam, they need to figure out if their Web site is doing what they need it to do,” Nelson says.

After conducting such check-ups, physicians could uncover the need to revamp the site’s design, add more advanced interactive functions, or bolster its patient education components. The work can be worth it, as physicians are discovering that emerging technologies can take a Web site beyond just an electronic novelty and turn it into a key patient care and business tool.

Indeed, because Web sites have matured far beyond the informational sites so common during the Internet’s infancy, experts say physicians now need to take a much more strategic approach.
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