Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and HIPAA for FREE!!

Medical Website Design: Jedi Credibility via Technology

Posted on March 17, 2016 I Written By

Medical Website Design
In the case of a medical emergency, a successful clinical portal has to meet the following two conditions at once: it should pop up in the back of the person’s mind and at the front of search results. To achieve this level of influence, your medical website’s design needs that wicked Jedi mind power to attract visitors, engage them and make them come back again and again.

A resource’s ultimate goal is to become a patient’s Master Yoda guide to the twists and turns of their health. A great medical website is able to meet patients halfway, educate and comfort them, and leave them more confident about their well-being.

Supported by cutting-edge technologies and breakthroughs, healthcare is one of the most important industries for human lives. Unfortunately, only examination and treatment are subject to first-priority innovation (for example, in vitro diagnostic medical equipment developments). So, persuading a caregiver to revamp or optimize their medical website can be challenging, as this effort is far outside their focal point.

So, the first question is – why should health providers pay extra attention to their websites?

An integral part of the Meaningful Use criteria, patient engagement, encourages individuals to contribute to their own well-being, thus reducing readmissions and improving care outcomes.

And the first tool to provide effective patient engagement – hug your patients at the doorstep, shake their hands and lead them into a physician’s office  –  is your website.

We’ve gone through a number of top clinical websites and noticed that they have several common characteristics. These are only some key features, but they will help your medical website stand out from other health resources.

1. Designed to Persuade and Help

Master Yoda sas, at the head of every clinical portal user interface should be, patients are most in need of humane and friendly words empowered with:

  • Responsive design
  • Straightforward navigation
  • Credible messages that speak directly to patients
  • Comprehensive and illustrated service descriptions
  • Moderate use of medical jargon

We put responsive design at the top as Healthcare IT News states that mobile healthcare technology makes NIH’s (National Institutes of Health) list of 14 goals for the next 5 years.  Moreover, mHealth technologies correlate with ACA’s plan to reduce excessive preventable readmissions. And, finally, Medicare spends more than $17 billion on avoidable readmissions annually.

Should any acute situation occur, a person might find themselves under an extreme pressure, panicky and irrational. What’s in their hands right now, a mouse or a phone? You can guess it. So, either the website is flawless across devices or you are blamed for falling short of the person’s expectations at the moment of utmost need.

2. Content Personalization. Jedi or Sith?

Content personalization is the light saber of a medical website. Without this influential tool, the resource is standing at the crossroads while needing to choose a side. If you decide to go on with the light side, get ready to accept the robe, the saber and the following consequences.

The Jedi side is the right personalization. You don’t overuse it, you’re careful, respectful and – what is most important – precisely targeted. Personalization is about picking and using the right details to bring patients what they need. So, you improve your revenue while nurturing and caring about your patients through:

  • Relevant services shown according to the patient’s previous visits. For example, if an individual has checked some information about implant dentistry or plastic surgery on your website, during the next visit they can continue where they left off via the recently visited section.
  • Clinic locations search offering the closest facilities first
  • Pages providing personalized promotions
  • Loyalty systems with cumulative discounts, bonus points and other incentives

To efficiently personalize content, medical websites can use patients’ personal information, such as:

  • EHR/EMR system health data (we make sure they are compliant with HIPAA rules)
  • Browsing history from previous visits
  • Current browsing behavior
  • And the trickiest part: information about family members

On the other hand, the wrong personalization makes your website a Sith, undermining the promising relations with patients and making them apprehensive about the service quality of the whole medical practice. If a barren woman opens a website and sees a page offering a personalized discount on fetal ultrasound, she might feel insulted and even mocked. She may even consider abandoning this medical provider.

3. Protected Functionality Starships

We consider the patient portal as a very important, next-to-mandatory element of a medical website. Patients want to have health data at their fingertips, and secure. Privacy must be at the core of patient portals. From resource to resource, secure features typically include:

  • Appointment scheduling options
  • Examination results
  • Diagnoses
  • Prescriptions and medication refill request form
  • Online billing

Again, this is just the basic scope serving most patients’ needs. We are sure that only through further customization with careful research and testing a medical provider can highlight the more peculiar details that enable an open dialogue with patients.

Jedi Website: Credibility via Technology

What do your patients need? Usability that won’t let them down in acute situations, access to health data, and personalized offers embedded into a protected system. Being able to communicate with physicians and track down their current treatment progress and lab results, patients feel more confident and empowered.

By shedding the light on the health problem, showing care and attention and giving the patient the needed information, you are creating a forceful halo of engagement. So let’s create a useful patient portal, include personalization and ensure responsive design with a friendly UI. That’s what transforms a medical website into a Master Yoda.

By Vadzim Belski, PHP Department Coordinator at a software development company ScienceSoft. With over 10 years of experience, he has taken part in large-scale web projects with a primary focus on the healthcare industry.

Taking Down Dr. Oz

Posted on July 23, 2014 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.

I briefly mentioned Dr. Oz in my recent post about NY Med (and the healthcare social media firing). It’s clear to anyone watching the show that Dr. Oz is there for the celebrity factor and not for the actual medical work. He’s always “partnered” with another cardiologist who provides the actual patient care. Of course, I don’t really care too much that he’s on it or not. If it gives them a boost in ratings, good. I like the show.

However, I don’t know a single doctor that likes Dr. Oz and I know many of them who hate Dr. Oz. With this in mind, I found this interview with a medical student whose trying to “take down” Dr. Oz quite interesting. Here’s a short take on what this med student is doing:

Last year, Mazer brought a policy before the Medical Society of the State of New York—where Dr. Oz is licensed—requesting that they consider regulating the advice of famous physicians in the media. His idea: Treat health advice on TV in the same vein as expert testimony, which already has established guidelines for truthfulness.


This is absolutely one of the problems with social media and other medium like television. The person with the biggest voice doesn’t always have the best information. In fact, sometimes the wrong information is the best way to grow an audience. What’s popular is not always what’s right.

Mazer in his interview highlights the biggest problem with some of the things that Dr. Oz says. The movement in healthcare has largely been towards evidence based medicine. I think that movement will only grow stronger as we can prove the effectiveness of care even better. However, many of the things on Dr. Oz’s show go contrary to evidence based medicine. This leaves the patient-doctor relationship at a cross roads when a patient chooses to follow something they’ve seen on TV versus the advice of the doctor (even if the doctor is on the side of evidence).

Dr. Oz aside, the same principle applies to other information patients might find on the internet. Many doctors would like to just brush this aside and say that patients should “trust” them since there’s bad information on the internet or there’s a bigger picture. That might work in the short term, but won’t last long term.

Long term doctors are going to have to take a collaborative approach with patients. As patients we just have to be careful that we don’t take it too far. Collaboration means that the patient needs to be collaborative as well.

The other way for doctors to battle the misinformation out there is to provide quality sources of trusted information. One way this will happen is on the physician website. Instead of being a glorified yellow page ad, the physician website is going to have to do more to engage and educate patients. That’s part of the opportunity and vision for Physia. It’s an exciting time to be in healthcare…if you like change.