The Internet need not only be used as a marketing tool, a way to gain potential patients, for your practice. In fact, the Internet can be a very useful tool that can be integrated into many different aspects of your practice. Communication and patient information and education are two such aspects that can greatly benefit from the use of the Internet and a focused plastic surgery marketing campaign.
Much of the communication between a patient and doctor can take place over the Internet and e-mail as opposed to the standard forms of communication like the telephone, written mail, fax, and in-person visits. In addition, all of your information, such as your office location, telephone and fax numbers, email address, your professional background, the services you offer and more, can be viewed by patients on your website over the Internet. In fact, many medical practices already use the Internet to communicate with their patients to some degree, and this use is likely to increase in the future. The one concern when it comes to medical information and the Internet and electronic communication is confidentiality and security. However, efforts are being made to better secure the transmission of patient medical information and, as this means of communication becomes more secure, electronic communication will no doubt become more widely used in the medical field. There is sure to come a time when referrals, tests results, prescription refills, preliminary information about a patient’s past medical and surgical history, and the like may be safely sent electronically, thus expediting the whole process, from communication to patients to decisions about treatment options. Today, it’s certainly possible for patients to request an appointment or to ask a question of their doctor over the Internet via email or a Q&A forum, and all of this can be done when it is most convenient for the patient. The Internet and email afford patients another option for communication, and can also help doctors to stay in closer touch with their patients.
The Internet can also serve as a great source for patient information and education. Again, on your website, you can have all the necessary information that a patient may need, including all of your contact information, pre- and post-surgical guidelines, signs of potential complications, and more. The Internet can also be used extensively for patient education. This can be particularly important given that much of the information found on the Internet is not necessarily accurate or reliable. You can provide your patients with all the information they could possibly need about their rhinoplasty procedure, breast augmentation, or any other procedure. This can be information you choose yourself to display on your website or links that you approve of which refer patients to other sites with valid information. In this way, the Internet can be an easily accessible source of information for your patients, and a well-educated patient is certain to feel more in control of their health and more confident about their choices.