Did you know that “website usability” is a science all its own? If you or your practice has a website, you need to start looking at the “usability” of that site. Here’s an introduction…
Aren’t all doctor rating sites the same? How do patients pick from dozens of these websites? Andrea Pyros at LearnVest.com has summarized some information for patients about online doctor rating sites.
Pew Internet Project study
A recent study this month by the Pew Internet Project and California HealthCare Foundation tells us that 8 out of 10 internet users look for health information online.
The following is a summary of a survey I did of about 60 specialist physicians in late 2010.
Operating systems and browsers
60% use Windows and 40% use Mac. Several commented that they use Windows at work and Mac at home. I think this is becoming less and less important as we start using more and more useful applications online (like email, Facebook, Google Docs, etc.). But the transition to web-only applications will take many years, so the “platform wars” are here to stay for the time being.
Most use Internet Explorer for web browsing. The rest are broken down into Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. A few mention that hospital applications may require IE for some programs.
Email programs used by physicians
Most (63%) use web-based email clients like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. to check email. One person uses an iPhone. One person has five email accounts. Several people use Outlook.
Doctors’ perspectives on social media
One of the more fascinating responses was this question about social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
81% have Facebook accounts.
Three people are on Twitter and five have LinkedIn accounts/profiles.
11% (three people) answered, “What is social media?”.
Some of the text responses: “do not feel I have time for these”; “no time for it”; “I can’t see any need for it”; “haven’t seen any value to the above”.
29 people skipped this question.
89% say their practice has a website.
40% of respondents control the content of their website themselves. Other responses include “marketing consultant” (14%), “partners or a committee of partners” (12%), and “in-house web/computer person” (33%).
Three people said they have no idea who controls the content of their website.
One person said, “some nameless faceless person who blocks anything useful being uploaded”.
How physicians say they educate their patients
Respondents are using a wide variety of materials for patient education – they refer patients to their society’s website and hand out their own brochures (35% and 40%).
Half of respondents hand out printed specialty society-produced brochures to their patients. 22% refer patients to their own websites. One surgeon cuts and pastes material from internet sources and creates a word processing document to hand out. Another surgeon is buying material from another company.
Comfort level with digital technology and skills among physicians surveyed
66% of respondents say they would like to how to be more savvy with digital technology, but don’t have the time to invest in learning how. One surgeon felt that his society’s handouts were dated in their presentation of information and awkward to use.
57% of those doctors surveyed are frustrated and overwhelmed with the lack of clear and practical information available in the area of digital technology.
Some highlights from a ranking question are found below. I asked about self-rated abilities in the following areas/topics:
- finding articles and information online
- manipulating digital images
- understanding website creation and structure
- using email
- listening to podcasts
- applying marketing principles to your practice
In no category was there a majority of respondents who felt they were experts – email was the activity people were most comfortable with (37% considered themselves expert emailers).
The majority (79%) felt savvy or comfortable finding information online.
45% rated their understanding of websites as “paralyzed/uncomfortable”.
67% felt comfortable with or that they had an expert level of understanding of audio media like podcasts.
75% are uncomfortable or less than comfortable in applying principles of marketing to their practice. No one ranked their abilities in the expert category for this question. This was the only area receiving zero responses (expert at marketing).
Do you find anything in common with these survey respondents? Let me know in the comments.
Maria Simbra, MD has written a summary of a typical day at work in her job as a medical reporter.
Here are some highlights I found enlightening:
- Her assignments are given to her, but she’s scanning the Internet for story ideas and a sense of the “medical buzz” of the day
- How the story is presented is determined somewhat by the goals of the media outlet
- She’s frustrated by limitations in the interviewee’s schedule
- Part of her job is to summarize the research paper (or medical-ese) in plain language for the viewers
- The study was done using metric measurements, which is not digestible for the viewers
Questions she’s asking about potential stories:
- How many people does the issue affect?
- Does it appeal to the station/paper’s target demographic?
- Is there a local connection to the story?
In an upcoming Quick Tip email, I’ll share some specific things you can do in your practice to get free publicity. Stay tuned!
You can read the original article here – A Day in the Life of a Medical Reporter.
In this video, I’ll show you how to quickly tell if a website is down or if the problem is with your connection. Comments welcome – leave them here or on YouTube.