Healthcare Website Development Best Practices for 2021
Healthcare is a growing market not only in the United States but around the world. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have begun to look to telehealth professionals and are looking to interact with their healthcare professionals through the internet more often than they used to.
If you have a medical practice and are looking for a way to better connect with your patients and potential patients, building a website can be a good idea. However, if you are building a website for your business, you should make sure that you follow some important healthcare website development best practices.
We’ve also made this information available in infographic form.
Healthcare Website Best Practices
1. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
It is essential to have a mobile-friendly website when developing a healthcare website for your medical practice. It is no longer safe to assume that a website visitor is always using a desktop computer and laptop to look upon a website. For example, 57 percent of smartphone users discover a new product or a company when searching on their smartphones.
With the fast innovation of new technology trends and the increasing access to the internet, most people’s eyes are glued on their mobile devices, and most of these people are spending more than five hours a day on their smartphones.
With the wide use of smartphones having a mobile-friendly healthcare website format is a good idea. It will help your patients to easily navigate your website and check for new information. Additionally, it will help with your SEO or search engine optimization giving you more website traffic and making your healthcare practice easier to find.
2. Include Graphs and Images for Increased Understanding
Another best practice for healthcare website development is using graphs and images on your website. It is essential to know that data and words are not enough to communicate and relay a message; about 65 percent of the population based on the Social Science Research Network relies on images and are visual learners.
Including graphs and images when creating a healthcare website will not only enhance your marketing efforts but will also communicate information more effectively to your website visitors. Aside from relying on information effectively, graphs and pictures draw interest and have a call-to-action effect on your website.
Visual representation has a significant impact on your website. A full-text website is bland and too generic for the eyes. If you want visitors to stay on your website and understand the posted information better, you need to have data and knowledge mixed with graphs and images.
3. Use ADA Compliant Features
When developing your healthcare website, it is vital to use ADA compliant features because of the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. The act requires businesses to create accommodations for people with disabilities. The act was passed by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010.
Using ADA compliant features helps to make your website more accessible to people with disabilities. Additionally, ADA complaint features diminish discrimination and ensure that all people have the same opportunity and rights when using your website. As a healthcare provider, this is an approach that will allow your business and its website to grow/ For more information on how to create an ADA compliant website, click the link.
4. Make Sure to Use Eye-Catching Colors
In developing your website, it is essential to use eye-catching colors because it is one of the most powerful aspects and tools in designing your website. Using the right color on your website will impact your website visitor’s emotions by how the color communicates, touches a feeling, and persuades visitors to stay on your website longer.
Choosing the right eye-catching color to use on your websites takes careful planning. It must be appropriately done to bridge the gap between the target audiences and the marketing materials. According to a recent study, website conversion increases up to 24 percent by adjusting and selecting the right color on your website.
5. Use Consistent Branding
When thinking about medical website design you need to have brand consistency. Using different customizations and interpretations of your branding can lead to confusion and may affect what people might think about your business.
Based on the recent study published in 2020 by Brand Management in the Digital Age, having comprehensible and consistent branding across different platforms increases revenue by up to 23 percent.
Consistent branding builds awareness and develops customer loyalty and trust in your business. Don’t forget that successful healthcare website development must be compatible with your brand. This is generally good practice for all websites, not just healthcare websites.
While you want your website to have all the information necessary to help your patients, it is best to reduce the number of choices they have to make when they’re navigating the website. It makes things easier for your patients. Ease of navigation will help convert potential patients into actual patients and makes the site more user-friendly.
According to a study from KoMarketing, about 50 percent of website visitors use the navigation menu to orient and familiarize themselves with a website. Having many choices on your navigation bar will not only affect the design and overall look of your website, but it can also confuse your website visitors.
7. Add White Space to Improve User Experience
One of the best website design practices is to add white space into your website to improve user experience; it makes the data and the information you will put into your website easy to scan and read. The old saying “less is more,” is true. Having less on a page is an effective part of website design and development.
Based on the study done by Wichita State University, adding white space to your website can improve reading comprehension by 20 percent. Moreover, white space can significantly boost your website’s User Interference (UI) and the User Experience (UE).
8. Divide Your Medical Website Design into Thirds
One important best practice for healthcare web design and development is to divide your website into thirds or use the rule of thirds. The idea is simple and straightforward; use a grid overlay to divide a photo or plan out your entire web design in this way.
The benefit of using the rule of thirds in applying it to the design of a custom healthcare website is that it creates stunning layouts with the perfect proportion to attract web visitors to stay on your medical practice or hospital website. Using the rule of thirds helps you create balance. Balance is important because an imbalanced design will throw off and ruin the entire look of your website.
9. Use Visually Appealing but Compressed Images
While you need a visually appealing website design for your healthcare marketing plan, your images shouldn’t be too large. The visuals you use, if too large can cause your website to take longer to load and the visitor will lose interest. This will not only cause you patients but it will affect your website’s SEO and your page will not reach a high rank in the search results.
Page load speed is a massive factor in SEO and also affects conversions and traffic. According to Neil Patel, most websites are slow to load, and the reason is typically the images used on the website. To boost your website’s speed, you need to compress images but still have visually appealing designs.
When building a medical practice or hospital website, make sure to use breadcrumbs to improve your website navigation and be more user friendly. The term breadcrumbs is derived from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. In this story, the main characters create a trail of breadcrumbs to track back to their house.
Breadcrumbs are your medical website’s secondary navigation aid that guides users to quickly understand how to go back to a website page if they were directed to another page. Websites have many pages, and the breadcrumbs navigation helps the users explore and find their way around.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, using breadcrumbs significantly helps with user experience and navigation. Breadcrumbs help your website reduce or minimize the number of actions your website user needs to take to get around reducing confusion and making your site more user friendly.
HIPAA Compliance for Healthcare Website Development
When embarking upon healthcare website development, you shouldn’t forget about HIPAA Compliance. Your website needs to abide by the federal law Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that protects a patient’s information.
Having a HIPAA-compliant website will help you to protect the credibility and reputation of your medical practice. However, HIPAA has a broad scope, which we will explain in the following paragraphs.
1. Get an SSL certificate
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is essential to your healthcare website, and getting an SSL is a must. The benefits of an SSL are that it increases site security, provides safety for all subdomains, has SEO advantages, builds patient trust, and boosts your credibility. Despite the importance, many organizations and end-users delayed their use of SSL.
Google is working to make the web a safe place and encourages website owners to use HTTPS protocols to ensure that the data is protected and secured. Based on the results of Gartner’s research, 70 percent of people who shop online have canceled an order because they did not trust the site. Strengthen your website’s security and protect your users.
2. Make Sure to Backup Data
It is crucial when developing your healthcare website that you always backup data. Backing up data will help prevent data loss if your website encounters an unfortunate event like a security incident from hackers and your computer gets damaged.
Making sure to backup data is a security precaution to protect your website. If something unfortunate happens, you can quickly restore your website and won’t need to start all over again. The 2018 IT professional survey shows that 96 percent of the small and midsize enterprises experienced downtime on their business due to not backing up their data.
3. Include Authorization Protocols
Including authorization protocols is another way to ensure your website’s security and protection to avoid not only a data breach but also ensures that your patient’s data isn’t disclosed inappropriately. An authorization is a process in which a server determines if your client can access a specific file or use a resource.
The authorization and authentication of a website work hand in hand. Authorization and authentication make your server understand that your client requests to access sensitive data without risking a piece of exposed information which could ruin your medical practice’s credibility.
4. Get a Business Associate Agreement
Getting a Business Associate Agreement also known as BAA, to people who also have access to your healthcare website is important because, on your behalf, they will potentially handle the Protected Health Information (PHI), which means the agreement will protect you as a practitioner and your business should a business associate experience a breach.
According to HHS (Health and Human Services), a business associate is any individual, entity, or a third-party, that executes a particular function on behalf of or provides services to a protected entity involving the disclosure and use of PHI.
In getting a BAA, you must verify the business associate’s compliance, policies, and procedures before accepting a signed subcontractor’s Business Associate Agreement.
5. Include a Way to Remove Information
Patients have a right to have their information removed from your system under HIPAA. When this situation occurs, you want to have an easy way to remove their information. If you don’t include this, it can be time-consuming for your staff. Save time now, by creating a way to remove this information easily at the start of your healthcare company’s website development.
6. Provide Storage Encryption
Storage encryption is another protection you need when developing your website. With the increased numbers of attacks, threats, and data breaches on the internet today, considering having data encryption will help you keep all the sensitive information safe and unfeasible to hackers.
According to IBM’s recent study, $4 Million is the average cost of a data breach and states that the healthcare industry is the highest hit industry with data breaching costing the entire industry more than $7 Million annually.
With data breaches costing healthcare providers so much money and credibility, you need to ensure that your stored data is safe from hackers. Be sure to use storage encryption on your files.
7. Ensure Information Integrity
When developing a website for a health system, you need to ensure information integrity. Using a database validation to ensure information integrity guarantees the validity and accuracy of a set of data or the data confined to a database.
Your online presence as a healthcare provider relies on your ability to show yourself as a trustworthy and respectable authority in your field. You can ensure information integrity by working with a web development agency that will set up a database management system to ensure that the information you have on a patient is the correct information.
8. Provide Transmission Encryption
As a healthcare provider, you may be required to transmit information to your patients and clients. When you do this, there is a risk of third-party interception. To avoid this, your website needs to provide transmission encryption. The encryption offers adequate protection against interception by a third-party when transferring data, especially if the data might pass over an untrusted network.
When working with a qualified web developer, they will build in processes using JSON and other programming languages that will ensure that your data is secure when being transferred from your clinic or practice to your patient’s device.
Healthcare Website Necessary Features
In the web design and development of medical websites, it is essential to have a few necessary features for your healthcare website. These necessary features will help your current and prospective to understand your practice, services, and any other necessary information you might provide.
Below we will outline 9 necessary features that healthcare websites should have when developing a website.
Video conferencing is needed by medical practitioners that choose to use their healthcare website as a telehealth platform. Doctors can use the video conferencing capabilities of their website to help them discuss the impact of medications on a patient’s condition or to help them assess the medical needs of a patient without them coming into the medical office.
A key feature that you can use on your website is instant messaging. Instant messaging is easily added to a healthcare website but its benefits are many. One of the best benefits of having instant messaging features on your medical website is that patients can send you quick questions about their medical problems.
If you have a website for your medical practice that you want to be a one-stop-shop for your patients, you should include ePrescribing. ePrescribing allows you to create an electronic prescription or ePrescription. This can help you to better meet the needs of your patients.
HIPAA Compliant Security Features
As detailed earlier, when you develop a website for your medical practice, you need to ensure that you follow HIPAA guidelines. Following HIPAA guidelines protects your business from being sued and also protects your patient’s information.
Encryption and Security Protocols
As part of the HIPAA compliance guidelines, you need to include encryption and security protocols. Another reason you should include encryption and security protocols is that it signals to search engines, like Google, that your site is a trustworthy source of information. Helping you with SEO or search engine optimization for your healthcare practice.
Virtual Waiting Room
Another great feature to add to your website, especially if it is being used as a telehealth platform, is a virtual waiting room. A virtual waiting room gives your patients somewhere to wait while they are waiting for their telemedicine appointment. It can help provide a better user experience to your medical website.
Adding remote scheduling to your medical website is a good way to improve the user experience when on the site. It makes your website more useful and can help alleviate overworked desk support staff. It allows your patients the ability to easily schedule their appointments any time of the day.
Medical Record Integration
Integrating medical record access to your website is a good idea because it allows your patients to see their medical history with ease. They no longer will have to call the clinic or practice to access their records. They can also access their records at their leisure and whenever they have a need.
Medical Billing Integration
Alleviate some of the tedious work for your staff by adding medical billing automation into your medical website. With automatic medical billing integrated on your website, you can save money on labor costs for your medical practice. It can also help improve the accuracy of your medical billing.
Healthcare website development takes a lot of knowledge and expertise to perform well. If you are looking to have a website developed for your medical practice, contact Idea Maker today.
Healthcare Website Best Practices Infographic