Healthcare professional Himachal Mukhopadhyay keeps up to date with medical trends and new technologies, giving readers an inside perspective to the turbulent world of healthcare. Below, he helps readers understand how the internet is influencing major changes in healthcare and what providers must do to stay current.
Himachal Mukhopadhyay remembers a time when the internet was just in its infancy stage and didn’t hold much sway over people when it came to choosing healthcare providers. Today, however, people use the internet to determine which restaurant they want to eat at, which product they should buy or avoid, and what other people think in general.
The internet has also had a huge impact on the way people interact with their healthcare providers, and it can mean the difference between bankruptcy and being an industry-leader for physicians.
“Both physician offices and patients now use the internet in various ways during the healthcare process,” says Himachal Mukhopadhyay. “Many offices are employing online interfaces to connect with their patients, and many patients use a range of online tools to determine which office or provider is the right choice for them.”
Across the board, online scheduling seems to be one of the most attractive features for healthcare offices. Instead of waiting weeks for an appointment, online scheduling allows patients to book or cancel an appointment at any time without them having to hang around for hours in the waiting room.
In addition, offices can use the internet to remind their patients about appointments or checkups, alert patients of test results, and monitor those patients with severe illnesses from afar.
“The internet is beginning to change how patients and providers interact on all levels,” says Himachal Mukhopadhyay. “With its speedy communication, the internet is eliminating the need for patients to drive over and talk with receptionists or make calls to determine scheduling and procedures.”
A great majority of people begin their hunt for a healthcare provider by performing quick Google searches and will be influenced by whether offices have a strong online presence or not. To keep up, providers must create relevant, resourceful content and fine-tune the user experience of their websites.
While referrals are still a valid way of finding a physician, most people will still look to online reviews of doctors and their offices before ever calling or scheduling an appointment. These online reviews can mean all the difference to practices; they directly influence credibility and authority and help patients validate their physician choices. This is why practices must take care that their online presence is in the best state it can be and that they encourage patients to leave positive reviews of their offices.
“The internet is here to stay, and all medical practices will have to up their online game to attract and retain patients long-term,” says Himachal Mukhopadhyay.