|By Rebecca Gill||
|December 18, 2012 02:32 PM EST||
I remember landing my first real job and having my first insurance card. I was not only proud of my accomplishment; I was thrilled that I had health insurance. That may sound strange, but I did not have medical insurance for much of my childhood and for the years I was in college. Being able to go to any doctor I wanted was more than a treat. It was fantastic!
I was equally excited the first time I realized the power of the internet and I could see it had the ability it had to change the world. That may sound just as strange, but I’m fairly passionate about internet marketing, so it was a powerful and memorable day for me.
One day the two experiences collided and I realized medical professionals and websites just don’t seem to fit within the same universe. Or at least that has been my experience with our metro Detroit physicians. When I realized this disconnect, I felt deflated.
As advanced as these professionals are with healthcare and medicine, technology, and in particular internet marketing, tends to escape them. Or frighten them. I’m not quite sure. But I struggle with it, because I know there are tons of excellent health professionals who need an internet presence.
I also know there are many consumers (aka future patients) who need a solid method for researching healthcare professionals. Something tangible, that provides credible information, that tells you which physicians serve a particular practice area, where they are located and how and when you can interact with these professionals.
I haven’t come to this theory lightly. I’ve lived in the suburbs of southeast Michigan for over two decades and I haven’t met one doctor, dentist, or healthcare professional that I could say was rocking the internet. This pains me, because I believe in internet marketing and I know it can make a difference.
An Illustration of My Point
To illustrate my point, we’ll use me as an example and review my team of medical providers and their online presence.
- Family Physician – No website. Just a listing on Google Local with two reviews. One is horrible and the other is adequate. My doctor’s office is dated and the doctors themselves are close to retirement, so the lack of internet presence is not surprising. I’d love to find a new family doctor, but I’ve not had success locating one on my own. By nature I would use the internet to research available options.
- Endocrinologist – My endocrinologist, who I greatly admire, looks at me with confusion when I speak of technology. He believes no one ever uses the internet to search for potential doctors therefore he refuses to build a website. He is highly intelligent and for seven years I’ve driven 45 minutes each way to visit him every four months. Yet the only things you can locate about him on the internet are bad reviews on websites like Vitals and Heathgrades. When I refer people to him, I purposely give them all the contact information so they don’t go look for him online. I know my doctor would like more patients, but he refuses to take one step into the online world.
- Obstetrician and Gynecologist – This group is a bit different. They have a website and the team of doctors blog monthly. They not only blog, they use Facebook and they send a quarterly newsletters to patients. I can tell you the feedback on Facebook is great and I know that they do receive new clients from their blogging efforts. They were not always like this, but when I rambled about internet marketing and how it could help, they listened. I wanted this team to be a success. They are great doctors who have served me well for a decade.
- Dentist – I love my dentist. He is kind, caring, and he puts up with my neurosis. The dental offices does have a website, although it is not user friendly and it looks like a coder designed it. But at least I can find information when I need it and I have some place to send people when they ask for referrals.
- Orthodontist – My daughter’s orthodontist is also a wonderful medical provider. He has an old and outdated website that is anything but user friendly. The orthodontist is highly approachable and so willing to share his insight when you are with him in person. His website is just the opposite. When I refer people to him, I give them all the contact information so they don’t go look for a website. I know his website does not come close to projecting the quality of care available from this provider.
Are Medical Providers Afraid of Technology?
I think many doctors don’t believe in the power of search. They do not think real people search for physicians via the internet. They are wrong. Really really wrong. And even if they were a little right, patients still vet referrals out by Googling the physician’s name.
Again I come back to the fact that I would quickly switch to a new family physician if I could find one I liked in my area. My husband has been begging me to do so for two years.
Industry Best Practices and Advice for Building Medical Websites
I wondered if I was being overly critical or if just expect too much from this industry. I’m a nerd and maybe I’m wrong. People might not use the internet as much as I think. So I asked around and here is some feedback I received:
- “The content on the site should be geared for the 6th grade reading level. Rather than using words like “oncology”, use “cancer” because those are the terms people are search for and familiar with.” – Leah Luddine from TrendSetter Communications
- “People often want to do their own credibility checks. Not having a website may make someone question how long the practice has been in operation.” – Anthony Kirlew from AKA Internet Marketing
- “As a financial planner to dentists, I frequently discuss the importance and cost/benefit of various marketing proposals. I see more and more dentists using social media (primarily Facebook), some quite effectively. A surprising number of small dental practices are just now coming online with web sites, very few use e-mail communication with their patients, more use texting.” - Sharon Weaver from Mission Financial Planning, Inc.
- “Social Media is important, but can be extremely time consuming when done properly. Most clinics will not have the resources to stay active on Facebook or Twitter. We encourage our clients to have each practitioner at the office write one article a month to post on the blog and share.” - Nadeem Kassam from Connect the Doc
- “Professional websites can also build a level of trust with a potential patient early on. If a website looks dated or less professional, it can lead patients to believe that the practice is also dated, or lacks quality. By having an up to date, professional looking website doctors can build trust up front with potential patients doing research online, while also better serving their existing patients with the latest news and information from their practice.” – Mike Wilton from Plastic Surgery Studios
Along Came an Idea
A few months ago my friend Rachel came to me with an idea. She owns an internet marketing firm and she wanted to work with medical professionals to help them with internet marketing and ongoing patient communication. When she mentioned the idea of creating WordPress themes for medical websites I jumped at the chance. I thought it was a great idea. After all, I already knew the need existed and now Rachel (who I know to be excellent at what she does), wanted to get her company more involved with this industry.
So this fall my firm create three medical WordPress themes specifically designed for this niche. With Rachel’s guidance our graphic designer crafted three different theme options that were designed specifically for small medical offices like doctors, audiologist, dentists, chiropractors and the like. The WordPress themes offer an excellent solution, as they are professional looking while still being economical.
Our new WordPress themes include three different websites designs:
Any of these three themes could be used for a host of medical websites. They all have the same premise: easy of use, easy to find contact information, and social sharing options. All three themes are available for purchase in our online theme store.
Still Fearful of Launching Your Own Website?
If you like one of these themes, but you’re not quite sure if the whole DIY website thing is right for you, have no fear. If you’d like assistance setting up one of these medical website, Rachel and her team at The Inforum Network are available for assistance. They’ll not only set up your new website, they’ll also manage ongoing content creation and newsletter management.
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 5, 2016 03:00 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Feb. 5, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 684
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 5, 2016 01:30 PM EST Reads: 321
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 5, 2016 01:15 PM EST Reads: 316
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 5, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 509
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 5, 2016 12:00 PM EST
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 5, 2016 10:15 AM EST
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 5, 2016 10:00 AM EST
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:30 AM EST Reads: 295
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 5, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 304
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Feb. 4, 2016 09:15 PM EST Reads: 743
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 2, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 388
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Feb. 2, 2016 04:30 AM EST Reads: 816
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
Feb. 1, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 897
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
Jan. 31, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 695
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
Jan. 31, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 1,120
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,177
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 771
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
Jan. 30, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 736
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
Jan. 30, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 1,239