3 Important Features for Your WebsitePosted: September 4, 2019 - By Melody Gandy-Bohr
Today, people are apt to search online for everything they need—including medical practitioners. Having a website is a must for every practice. However, building a website is just step one. You also need to optimize your site to keep visitors engaged.
Site visitors make split-second decisions about whether to stay and browse a site or click away. In fact, Time magazine reported that the average visitor spends less than 15 active seconds on a web page. How can you get people to invest more time on your site? Focus on these three critical web features to reach and retain patients.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance
Under ADA, medical practices are places of “public accommodation” and must comply with all accessibility mandates. Common accommodations include wheelchair ramps and materials in Braille for individuals who are visually impaired.
Importantly, ADA also requires organizations to ensure that their web content is accessible to all users. While there are no legal definitions of what functionality to include, you can follow known best practices. At a minimum, you must ensure your site accommodates individuals who are hearing-impaired or visually-impaired, along with those who must navigate by voice.
Here are a few features that help ensure your site is ADA compliant:
- Alt Tags: Create alt tags for videos, images, and audio files to ensure visitors can read or hear alternative content descriptions.
- Text Transcripts: Make sure to create a text transcript for all audio and video content to make this information accessible to all visitors.
- Header Code: Identify the language you use on your site in its header code to assist visitors who use text readers.
Also, make sure your site has a consistent, well-organized layout and streamlined navigation. You can also anticipate input errors individuals with disabilities may make and offer them alternative paths to get to the information they need.
2017 was a landmark in Internet history. That year, over half of all web pages visited were accessed by a mobile device, according to Statista. And the popularity of mobile web access is only going to rise.
What does that mean for your website? You need to anticipate that at least half of your visitors will be visiting via phones or other devices with smaller screens. And you need to make sure your site applies the latest responsive web design (RWD) principles.
A responsive website adapts to all resolutions and sizes. However, a responsive site does not merely take your desktop design and shrink it down to a smaller screen size. Instead, a responsive site may adjust content presentation based on screen real estate. For example, navigation may appear on the top on a small mobile screen and stretch along the side on a larger screen. And a desktop layout may present three columns of content, while the mobile version displays just one.
Big-name companies like Capital One and Equifax have all earned notoriety for massive data breaches, according to ABC News. Your practice is just as vulnerable to damaging hacks. Why? Security experts warn that cybercriminals may seek patients’ private medical information to buy costly equipment or drugs or to file fraudulent insurance claims.
Just how big is the issue? According to an American Medical Association (AMA) survey, 83% of physician respondents said they had experienced a cyberattack. Nearly three-quarters said the attacks compromised the security of patients’ electronic health records (EHRs). And over half felt the attacks posed threats to patients’ safety.
Any access to patients’ protected health information (PHI) can cause your practice to violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Each HIPAA violation incident can result in fines of $100 to $50,000 with total liability up to $1.5 million.
How can you safeguard against website breaches? You must ensure any forms patients can submit via your website are encrypted. That way, you can offer patients the convenience of making online appointments or sharing health information without risk. Data encryption is also essential if you process any online credit card transactions. With encryption, you can prevent patients’ private financial information from falling into the wrong hands.
Improve Your Website, Grow Your Practice
A website is an excellent tool to communicate with current patients and reach new ones. Staying current with technology trends is essential. With an ADA-compliant website, you can better serve patients with disabilities. Responsive design ensures your site is accessible across mobile devices. And security protocols help patients know that their medical and financial information is safe with you. Together, these three features help you build a powerful website that draws traffic, attracts new patients, and grows your practice.