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10 reasons why doctors need to have an online presence

Did you know that urban Indians visit medical experts 2x more than Indians in smaller towns and cities? And that gynaecology, dermatology, and paediatrics are the top three specialities that are sought after? 

But the path to finding a doctor is no longer the same. Instead of seeking recommendations and advice from family and friends, most of us now prefer to go online, search for a nearby doctor, look at reviews and ratings, and book an appointment. 

The use of internet in seeking medical information has been growing over the years. The ‘Think With Google-Digital Journey to Wellness’ survey revealed that 77% patients use search engines to look for doctors and book appointments, and 44% of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device schedule an appointment. 

Despite the large population and infrastructure problems, India has been at the forefront when it comes to adopting digital health technology. And it’s clear that more and more doctors and medical experts need to get online to reap the benefits of technology and grow their business. 

Here’s why doctors need to have an online presence today:

It makes discovery easy 

An Indian paper, Internet and Doctor–Patient Relationship, revealed the internet was used by 50.35% of patients to get medical information (according to a survey). More urban patients (79.48%) went online as compared to rural patients (28.11%), but that number is growing as awareness, spending power, and smartphone penetration grows. An online presence will ensure that you are seen in this largely invisible world, especially if you use search optimisation techniques. This ensures that your name crops up when a potential patient searches “doctor near me”, ultimately leading to new patients and sign-ups. 

It simplifies appointment scheduling 

Scheduling appointments and making telephone calls to remind patients to keep those appointments are a thing of the past when doctors go digital. Specific apps can help schedule and generate appointments, and make it easy to monitor and change dates and hours. Going digital also allows automatic notifications for appointments, follow-ups, and any other changes, and reducing the number of no-show patients. 

It makes consultation and communication easy

Mobile devices can serve as your one-stop shop to communicate with patients through text messages, e-mails, and phone conversations. This helps save time and avoids physical visits to clinics, especially when patients don’t need to. Digitisation can also enable online consulting and discussions. 

It helps display social proof to patients

A robust online presence can help people get an idea of who you are and your practice. It is a good idea to ask patients for feedback and prominently display patient testimonials and positive reviews on your website and social media.  This helps create a good online reputation that automatically ensures that people looking for a new doctor develop a connection with you and schedule their first appointment. 

It creates a single, easy-to-access patient record

The time of carrying files and papers to the doctor is long gone. One of the advantages of going online is the creation of a digital record that offers doctors access to a patient’s complete history virtually, anytime, anywhere. This saves time, reduces duplication, and facilitates better decision-making by keeping allergies, current medications and dosages, earlier diagnoses, and treatment plans in mind. 

It enhances the patient experience 

Be it an old patient, one who’s referred to you, or one who’s found you online, you need to keep the patient happy to ensure that s/he returns to you every time. Putting in place systems that keep accurate records, save time, and make communication easy are sure to boost your image and the patient’s experience. Over time, this convenience and ease is what ensures patient loyalty. 

It boosts productivity and efficiency

Across the world, the use of digital platforms is shown to significantly better time management, leading to increased efficiency and productivity. Digital paper records make it easier to store and search for specific documents and share information, which leads to fewer errors and improved workflow. The savings on time free up more doctor hours for direct patient care.

It make second opinions easier

The digitisation of health records ensures portability in healthcare and makes it much easier for patients to get second opinions. Just a click or tab will allow the doctor/specialist to access all patient documents – diagnosis sheets, lab reports, and test results – and give their medical opinion. 

It opens up telemedicine and growth prospects

The lockdown led to an exponential growth in the use of telemedicine. Unable to line up at the nearby clinic, people in urban and rural areas switched to digital medical consultations as healthcare infrastructure in India came under huge pressure. Healthcare aggregator Practo said there was 500 percent growth in online medical consultations between March-May 2020 with 50 million Indians accessing healthcare through telemedicine amidst the lockdown. Of these, 80 percent of all users were first-timers. Getting online can over time open up this huge market that lets you target patients near and far. 

It simplifies the doctor’s life

Apart from impacting patient outcomes, the use of technology can also enhance the doctor’s work life. The pressure of growing business slows as patients discover you online – this growth can be huge if done well. Doctors who go online also benefit from the savings of time offered by improved efficiency and productivity, which ensures that they don’t burn out. 

The number of patients who go online – to look for a doctor or check the medical expert’s ratings – before making a decision will continue to grow. In such a scenario, it makes sense for you, as a doctor, to be online so that your presence there instils confidence and lets them make a choice. 

How can you do it? Meet Boost 360 for Doctors. It can cater to your every digital need - from creating a website, setup online appointment system and walking down the online path.