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Medical information online
The demand for good healthcare and medical information online is still growing. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre in 2011 revealed that 66% of people use the internet to search for details of a specific medical condition, 56% use online sources to find out more about treatment options, while 44% look for information on specific doctors and consultants.
Why do many consultants not have a web presence?
Developing a website about yourself can be a difficult task. It tends to be something continually put at the bottom of a long 'to-do' list because it takes thought, time and effort and often takes consultants out of their comfort zone.
Some consultants opt to buy a web package 'off the shelf' and build a few pages with their own content. The site may be live, but the hosting and back-end functions are usually far from optimal. Writing medical copy takes more skill and effort than most doctors realise until they try it: writing for the web is completely different from writing medical reports or papers for journals.
Home-made sites do not rank well in search engine results, and they are prone to broken links, slow page loading and downtime, all of which creates extra hassle when using it as a resource for patients and often leads to the site being abandoned after a few months.
A patient's point of view:
- Prospective patients and members of their family often look up different private consultants who have been suggested by their GP, or they do their own searches to find the top doctors in a particular medical field.
- People coming to see a particular consultant want to check out what you look like, and are often interested in your medical training, background and experience.
- Patients who are under your care need ready access to online contact details in case of worries or problems.