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Make Your Medical Practice Website Patient-Friendly

Posted on March 9, 2017 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Yasmin Khan from Bonafide.

It’s a sad truth that many websites are simply not effective at being a resource for visitors, including most medical practice and healthcare service websites. The key element to a service-oriented business website is accessibility or ease of use.

Unfortunately, accessibility is the element most lacking in websites for healthcare organizations.

  • The content is written at the graduate school level.
  • There is too much jargon, unfamiliar acronyms, and unfamiliar words.
  • Too much in-depth medical knowledge is required to understand what is presented on the website.

An example of writing above the audience is using the term nosocomial infection instead of the self-explanatory hospital-acquired infection.

Optimizing your website requires you to look at it from the intended user’s point of view and using proven techniques to increase the probability your website will be found. The entire goal of your website is to attract and convert leads into patients.

Below are three areas of optimization you can use to improve your medical practice’s website to be more patient-friendly.

Provide Relevant, Well-Written Content, and Attractively Presented Content

Does your present website look just like the brochure at your front desk? If so, you are not leveraging the power of your website. You have at your fingers a tool that can be designed to appeal to a wide variety of information needs that is easily navigated.

Every piece of content on your website should be targeted to your ideal patient profile. You must also have content that speaks to each segment of the patient journey, written in the patient’s language and at their level of education.

Your content should be written to no more than the 11th-grade level to be accessible to most of your visitors. Communicate urgency without scaring or pressuring the reader. Above all, do not patronize.

Create clear calls to action to guide people where you want them to go and provide something of value that encourages them to share their contact information to obtain it.

Practice Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You need to address two areas of SEO:

  • On-page: refers to everything within the website
  • Off-page: refers to SEO opportunities, not on your website

On-page SEO refers to the building and optimization of your website.

  • Indexable content, including images, videos, and plug-ins
  • Crawl-able link structures
  • Search engine friendly URL structures
  • Optimized pages, title tags, and meta-descriptions

Avoid duplicate content to avoid being penalized by Google and other search engines. Each page of your website should have unique content that adds value to the user while achieving a clear marketing goal for your practice.

Off-page SEO includes ways to attract attention to your website through link-building, sharing and promoting content, and optimizing for local and mobile search.

Building quality links is the first principle of successful SEO. The key is to build quality links, relevant links from authoritative websites, blogs, and other areas of the web back to your site. High-quality links are what Google uses to judge trust and confer higher search engine rankings.

Optimize for Localization

As a geographically based service, you need to optimize for local search. When patients search for a medical practice, they typically add the city name to the search:

Primary Care Physicians in Kansas City

Each of your location pages should be optimized with your city and other identifying information such as the name of the medical center your office is in.

If your website is not responsive, meaning it will display appropriately regardless of the device, you need to convert it. Mobile devices have blanketed the globe, and most are used to search for local businesses as well as serving as a primary device for online activity.

The mobile version of your site should have:

  • Large, legible fonts
  • A fast load speed
  • Bullet lists and less text
  • Simple navigation with few internal links
  • Fewer images

Don’t lose opportunities because you cannot be found via smartphone or tablet.

A Quick Summary

Your website is your marketing engine. Take full advantage of online technology to develop a patient-friendly website that:

  • Contains relevant, well-written content
  • Is optimized for search engines
  • Has high-quality sites linking to it
  • Is optimized for local search and mobile devices.

Building a medical practice is a business, just like any other. Today’s patients expect to be able to find you online and engage with you when they are ready. Make sure you give them the information they need to put you at the top of their list.

About Yasmin Khan
Yasmin Khan is the marketing manager for Bonafide, a digital marketing agency in Houston, Texas. She loves writing, tweeting, and positive change. She’s all about the big picture and the greater good.

5 Tips to Help You Create Awesome Content to Market Your Healthcare Practice

Posted on November 9, 2016 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Alex Membrillo
While the phrase “content is king” has surely worn out its welcome, there’s no denying that one of the most effective ways to get noticed, build an audience and grow your practice is to produce high-quality content.

The “blog” is still the most thought-of content type out there, but in more recent years, healthcare practitioners are testing out new waters, such as video marketing and podcasting.

Regardless of your preferred form of content, one of the biggest struggles the busy healthcare professional encounters when trying to market his/her practice is finding ideas to talk about.

These 5 tips should help you create awesome, high-quality content that will demonstrate your expertise and expand your reach to new prospects.

1. Look no further than your calendar
Each month marks at least one – if not a handful of – observances related to the healthcare industry. October, for example, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. November is American Diabetes Month. June 27 is National HIV Testing Day.

Each of these observances provides a foundation and direction for you to create content around. For October, for example, you could create four blog posts (scheduled once per week) that discusses a different perspective of breast cancer.  For June 27, you could create an infographic that outlines what to expect when getting tested for HIV.

The benefit of turning to your calendar for content ideas is two-fold:

  1. You can plan your content well in advance, so that you’re never left scrambling at the last minute
  2. You can take advantage of the social conversations going on in places like Twitter and Facebook (using hashtags or tagging key influencers helps immensely)

You can turn to to get a list of the observances taking place each year.

2. Tap into the existing news trends
One thing you can always count on is that health and sciences will always be covered in the news. Whether it’s a breakthrough drug, a new form of alternative care, a controversial surgery or statistics that demonstrate a trend in human health (such as obesity), health is always on the front-page, so to speak, of news.

This is a tremendous opportunity for you to create relative, real-time content that folks are talking about at this very moment.

If, for example, Good Morning America just aired a segment on the latest development on the Zika virus, you can be certain that millions of folks will be searching online – and on social media – for terms related to Zika.

By producing your own commentary or perspective on the matter, you can win over some of this traffic and come across as an expert and influencer.

3. Find out what your audiences want to know about
The whole purpose of creating quality content is to provide something of value for folks who conduct online searches.

What better way to produce relative content people actually care about than to go straight to the source?

You can do this a few different ways:

  1. Conduct a survey on your blog or through email, asking your readers what topics they’re most concerned about or would like for you to cover. Survey Monkey is a good free tool to use.
  2. Look at the blogs and social profiles of your local and national counterparts. What are they writing about that seems to have garnered audience response?
  3. Use keyword research. If you know who your audiences are, then you can figure out what search terms they use on Google. These key terms will serve as the subject matter of your content.

4. Don’t resist the list
One of the most effective types of blog posts is the “list.”

5 Ways to Reduce Stress at Home. 10 Reasons to Lower Your Salt Intake.

These types of articles speak directly to the human mind, which likes to group and classify things. A list article tells the reader: This is what you’re going to get, nothing more, nothing less. Readers like this, because they know they’ll be able to skim the list and absorb its value without having to commit to a ton of reading.

Just by thinking in “list” form, you’ll likely come away with a few story ideas. If, for example, you’re an orthopedic surgeon, think to yourself, what would my readers want to know? Perhaps you might come away with ideas such as:

  • Five Ways Runners Can Reduce Joint Pain
  • 7 Reasons Why You Don’t Need Back Surgery
  • The 3 Exercises You Can Do at Home to Strengthen Your Bones

5. Go ahead – reuse, recycle, repurpose!
If you’ve actively been producing content, then there’s no need to reinvent the wheel each and every time. Why not go back over your existing content and figure out a way to spin it into something new?

Is there a new angle you can focus on? Hospitals, for example, could take an article that highlights one field and rewrite it to focus on another one.

Perhaps an article you wrote last year is outdated and could benefit from the inclusion of the latest study or statistics. Create that new post, and link to the original one.

Let’s say, for example, you’re a plastic surgeon who wrote a popular blog post last year about the use of Botox for patients suffering from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). Since then, you’ve had a few clients see remarkable benefits from this procedure. You can then update your blog post with patient testimonials and promote it again across your digital channels.

Billions of content is produced daily – getting noticed can be a challenge

As a healthcare professional, your time is already extremely limited, but you know the importance of marketing in order to grow your practice.

Use these 5 tips above to help you quickly come up with high-quality pieces of content that’ll attract your prospects and demonstrate your expertise.

About Alex Membrillo
Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal Web Solutions, an award winning healthcare marketing agency based in Atlanta, GA. His innovative approach to digital marketing has transformed the industry and delivered remarkable results to clients of all sizes and markets. Visit to find out more about Cardinal Web Solutions.  

Follow him on Twitter @Alex_Membrillo

Using EHR to Deliver Superb Medical Website Personalization

Posted on February 24, 2016 I Written By

By: Uladzimir Sinkevich

Content personalization is a powerful tool for building trust on a medical website, making patients feel special, privileged and taken care of. Based on visitor preferences, search intent and behavior during previous visits, it offers a tailored user experience, such as personalized messages, promotions and services.

Generally, medical resources tend to provide users with a certain level of personalization through a private patient portal with access to their EHR/ EMR, appointment scheduling, diagnosis information, examination results and other features.

However, the public realm of the website (including service descriptions, articles and more) can benefit from using EHR-based information, too. The resource can actively guide patients and suggest relevant information backed by selected health data entries.

Both patients and caregivers can benefit from an EHR-based content personalization.

EHR Based Website Personalization

Particularly, patients receive:

  • Personalized promotions
  • Overview of services related to their conditions
  • Targeted messages (health tips, reminders, articles)

In the course of a long-lasting relationship between a patient and a provider, an EHR contains diagnosis with dozens of lab results, images as well as examination and treatment records. Summarizing these entries, the medical website can help build credibility by offering patients accurate information.

On the flip side, caregivers benefit from two advantages:

  • Gaining more loyal patients
  • Improving population health

One of the most important KPIs for health organizations is the level of a population’s health. Achieving a higher level of a population’s well-being is easier when caregivers place a major focus on preventive medicine. While patients have a more personalized user experience on a medical website, they tend to care about their own health and thus prevent diseases.

Now, there is a catch. HIPAA restricts the use of the protected health information for marketing purposes. The privacy rules, however, allow clinical websites to personalize functionality to tell patients about the “services essential for quality health care”, for example:

  • Previews of pages with health plan guides related to patients’ current health plans or conditions
  • Shortcuts to new service descriptions according to patients’ health records
  • Personal reminders and/or discounts relevant to recent patients’ checks and procedures

However, most of the EHR data is useless for website personalization.

Thus, a medical website needs an algorithm that will collect a short health record overview with the elements valuable for personalization only. At ScienceSoft, we call it a “Health Profile Builder” algorithm. Its job is to sort out the massive amounts of personal information in EHR and extract the key data inputs, such as lab results, X-rays, discharge summaries and other. Then, the “Builder” can answer the following patient needs, such as:

  • Information needs
  • Care needs
  • Examination needs
  • Treatment needs

So, let’s see how it works. A patient with a chronic condition, say, diabetes, has a long history of blood/urine glucose tests, pancreatic/liver ultrasounds, MRI results and more.

EHR Based Website Personalization 02

The “Builder” extracts the diagnosis information via the ICD-10 codes. Based on this and other data from the EHR, the algorithm detects possible complications and provides particular personalization options. As risk factors for diabetes include neuropathy, high blood pressure, retinopathy, skin complications and more, the website offers:

  • a discount for the next consultation
  • a free blood pressure check
  • an article about neuropathy and foot hygiene

This information might be a just-in-time act of care for a person with diabetes, as patients with chronic conditions tend to underestimate the actual severity of their disease.

Open Dialogue with Patients

Personalized website content can help a healthcare organization create the effect of visiting a doctor’s office, thus building a trustful relationship with patients. As using EHR-based information is just a small part of the content personalization topic, you can read more details on how to customize the user experience in one of our latest blog posts. We encourage you to follow the link and let us know about your thoughts in the comments.

Posted on December 26, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you haven’t been to for a while, go and check it out. If you didn’t know better, you’d think that was built by a company and not the government. This is true all the way down to the Blog featured on the home page. I applaud Todd Park and the others at HHS who took a different approach to how a government website should look and feel. They even have a scrolling set of stories about patients and benefits. You’d think they have something to sell us.

Well, I guess they do have something to sell. They are definitely trying to sell us on ACA (aka Obamacare) and the benefits that come from Obamacare. Although, the tools that I found most interesting were the Insurance Options Wizard which walks you through all the options you have to getting insurance. Not to mention a whole set of tools to try and help people understand using insurance. Although, I’m pretty sure most of that’s not going to be read. So, hopefully it’s got a good dose of search engine optimization applied so that it will show up in search engines where it might get a chance at being read.

We’ve written about the “Comparing Care Providers” part of before. It’s pretty gutsy for a government organization to go there at all. Certainly they are taking a pretty high level approach to their “comparison” but we’ll see how much they dig into it going forward. Will those doctors that are part of an ACO that’s striving to be reimbursed on the quality of care be listed different than other doctors? It will be interesting if tools like these start to differentiate which patients go to which providers.

I do wish that the website did more to get patients involved in their healthcare. Here’s what I said in my “All I Want for Christmas…” post on EMR & HIPAA:

More Empowered and Trusted Patients – Imagine where the patient was a full participant in their healthcare. That includes being trusted and listened to by their doctor and a patient who thoughtfully considers and listens to their doctor. This is not a one sided issue. This is something that both patients and doctors can improve. There are as many belligerent patients as their are arrogant doctors. We need a good dose of humility, care and trust re infused into healthcare. I think they only way we’ll get there is for the lines of communication to open up on an unprecedented level.

Seems like is one place that could help reach this goal. I guess in some ways the physician comparison engine could work towards this. How cool would it be if they listed which of the physicians used EHR and which EHR that physician used? Reminds me of “Got EMR?” ad campaigns I first wrote about about 6 years ago.

EMR or Not, we’re quickly heading to a world where doctors are differentiated on the technical services they provide their patient. Doctors are starting to be judged by their medical website and the services they provide on that website. Do they accept online appointment requests? Do they accept online payments? Can the patient communicate electronically with the clinic? Can the patients receive their patient records electronically?

It will start with a handful of doctors and then start to spread. Plus, it will be accelerated if or some other website starts to highlight those doctors who offer these type of services and those that don’t.