Friday, June 04, 2010

Website for Doctors – Looking Back and Forward

This is a guest post from Aditya Patkar, from Plus91.

Website for Doctors went live in January 2010. It's been about 5 months since then and the progress has been fabulous. The experience has been wonderful as a lot of doctors and observers commended us on the initiative, and the quality of work done.

What have we learned so far ?

1. Many doctors initially show interest in getting a website, but very few actually sign up . This is not due to the cost , but mainly due to the work involved on their side. Some cannot not find the time or are just plain lazy to send in the information for the site. ( For many it's simple ignorance - I think they still do not realise the value a website can add to their practise and how it can help them to boost their profitability and improve their patient care services ). Also , some think of it like a tattoo which once up might define them , which is why they are afraid to put it up unless it’s absolutely perfect !

We try to encourage doctors to participate by following up on a regular basis. Emails, SMS, phone calls - the avenues are many, and the idea is to keep their interest and initiative alive ! Many have come back to us after 2 or 3 months and gone through with the website.

2. Doctors come in many different models ! We have the very enthusiastic kind, who send lots of data and information and follow up each day. They are fun to work with, but can take away some of the productivity by constantly micromanaging. We have the uninterested kind, who seem to have decided to make the website as an afterthought and have to be followed up constantly to send data and take decisions. For them the site takes a very long time to get done. Other doctors understand the value of a website and want one, but are too busy to make decisions and send in their inputs Lastly, we have the doctors who send information on time, take decisions quickly and appreciate the effort - but just like good scotch , these are rare !

3. What do doctors want ?

a. The ability to change a selected template with some of their own images.
b. The option to display their hospital attachments and timings on the home page.
Unfortunately , they are quite reluctant to provide more details on the specialized treatments they provide (personal insight: I think they don’t really want to write - it's too much trouble and require a lot of effort ). This is shame, because this is unique content which is likely to help them attract lots of patients !
c. They love to put up images (a good thing!)
d. They need help in deciding a URL, some choose very complicated ones , because they try to fit in all that they do in it. This can be counterproductive.

4. What are the bottlenecks we encounter ?

a. Information flow: Doctors don’t send required data on time or they take too long to make decisions , thus needlessly delaying the process. This ideally can be completed in less than 2 days for a basic site.
b. Sending incorrect information is also a major problem ! Either it has to be sent back, or time is wasted on correcting it
c. Payments: Generally we do not publish the site unless the complete payment is made, hence when doctors’ delay payments we hold the work back or do not make the site live. This is rare , but it does happen.
d. Asking for too many minor changes : Some doctors are over critical of their site because they are perfectionists. This can delay going live , and this delay can be very counterproductive. It makes much more sense to get it ready, put it up - and then improve it incrementally over time as a result of the feedback received. After all, a website is a live organism, which grows with love and care !

So if any of you doctors do want a website, go to and send us a request. It takes 3 simple steps and 4 days to have your site up and running if you follow the guidelines suggested above. The more the number of doctors who are aware of this avenue , the more they will promote it amongst their community. You have 3 flexible plans to choose from in terms of cost, complexity and features, so take a decision and take the plunge ! The worst decision is not to have a website !

Some stats from our site: we receive about 2 website request a day! We have completed over 30 live sites and 15 micro-sites. For some of the more relevant key words , we are already on the first page of google ! And as for our work check out this video:

What of the future?

• A do it yourself content manager ( CMS), which will let you add information yourself to your site
• Integration with Plus91 EMR solutions for Online EMR access and pre-visit information capture from patient
• New cool templates on more specialties
• New content which can now be sourced by you on various topics for the site, so you do not need to create your own !
The option to include patient education videos from PEAS

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