Why every doctor in India needs a Web site

Just like you need a telephone line to practice medicine, a Web site has become an integral part of modern medical practice today. Doctors need patients—and in order to get patients, you need to go to where they are. Today, many patients are online—and their numbers are increasing every day.


“Remember that Indian patients want information about the most common diseases in India—so they are more interested in information about malaria than cystic fibrosis.”
Aniruddha Malpani, MD, medical director of Malpani Infertility Clinic in Mumbai, India, and Medical Director at HELP-Health Education Library for People


One of the keys to any clinic’s success is the ability to keep patients happy and engaged. Your Web site lets you provide many value-added services for your patients. Patients will always have[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]…

[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()] questions about their illnesses or conditions, and many will spend hours hunting online for medical information. However, most patients would much rather get information from their doctor, and if you provide this information on your Web site, your patients know they can trust it. By guiding your patients to reliable sources of digital information, you can save them the frustration of wading through endless pages of irrelevant content. This strategy also will minimize the time you would need to spend correcting misinformation that patients could find from other, unreliable sources on the World Wide Web if you don’t proactively provide it to them.  

Key Point: Many of your patients are already searching for healthcare information on the World Wide Web, so you should be there, too, to guide them in the right direction and to ensure that they are accessing high-quality, accurate information. A clinic Web site is an excellent way to market your practice. Use your URL/domain name on your clinic communications and in your marketing materials.

Customize for India

Remember that Indian patients want information about the most common diseases in India—so they are more interested in information about malaria than cystic fibrosis. By providing this information, you establish yourself as a credible expert. You can refer patients to your Web site at the end of a consultation, so they can educate themselves. Patients appreciate this, and word-of-mouth will help you get more patients. The more generous with your knowledge and sharing it, the more you will get in return.

This is a huge opportunity for forward-thinking Indian doctors. There is very little content about health and medicine in Indian regional languages today. Any doctor who is willing to take the time and trouble to set up a Web site and provide the patient education content in the local language is likely to become a star very soon. This will take some work initially, but this is an investment from which you can reap enormous returns in a short time. Internet penetration and Web access through cellular phone systems in India is increasing by leaps and bounds; in fact, Indians have easier access to a mobile phone today than they have to a toilet.

Your Web site can help you to attract new patients. Soon, it will become routine for patients in India to research their doctors, as people do in the United States, and your Web site can help patients find you. At my practice’s Web site, we answer an average of more than 50 queries a day about our specialty, IVF. As a result, we get direct patient referrals from all over the world. Remember that Internet-savvy patients may be slightly different than your average patient. They are well-informed, used to getting second opinions, and can be quite demanding. Most are affluent and know exactly what they want, so they will keep you on your toes.

Getting started

Even though many doctors today understand the importance of having their own Web site, getting started can be the most challenging part sometimes—especially when you and your staff have many other demands competing for your time. However, the initial investment you make in time and resources will create long-lasting benefits.

You should work with a Web company, preferably one that has expertise in creating medical Web sites. There are even some companies out there that offer templates designed especially for medical clinics.

Enhanced patient communication

The transparency that the Web imposes can help improve your relationship with your patients, by allowing much more open communication between them and you. While it may seem that email is impersonal, the truth is that patients can be far more communicative by email than they are face-to-face. Interacting with your patients online will help you to become more patient-centric and empathetic, because you will get a much better idea of what your patients are thinking about and what they want. It will save you time as well, especially when you include answers to FAQs (frequently asked questions) on your Web site as a resource to patients.

Once you have your own Web site, you can start exploring social media such as Facebook and Twitter to market your practice. These are excellent tools to project yourself as an authority–make the most of them.

Building the future of healthcare

Just having a Web site is not enough. Remember that there are millions of Web sites out there. You need to actively promote your site. Print your website address (URL) on your business cards and your stationery and display it in your waiting room. Encourage patients to visit your Web site. If your Web site has content is useful to patients, and that is updated on a regular basis, many will happily visit it regularly and even refer many of their friends and family members to your site as well. Your Web site helps build an image of your clinic, so make sure you do a professional job.  Also, ensure that you reply promptly to queries and emails. Some doctors may worry that having their own Web site could be misconstrued as a form of advertising. However, the Internet is a very valuable means of educating patients, and doctors need to be in the forefront of providing reliable information to their patients. After all, if we do not take the responsibility for educating patients, then who will?

The future of medical care is e-healthcare, with the promise of electronic health records, e-prescribing, telemedicine, patient education, and an ever-expanding list of exciting opportunities. The opportunity to help our patients navigate the wealth of information on the World Wide Web and better educate themselves is now in our hands. We owe it to ourselves and to our patients.

Aniruddha Malpani, MD Dr. Malpani is medical director of Malpani Infertility Clinic in Mumbai, India, medical director of the HELP-Health Education Library for People, and author of a physician and patient education blog. He is an angel investor in Plus 91, which offers customized Web sites for doctors.

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2 Comments

  1. muralikrihna n
    Posted Mar 2012 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    doctors going net savvy is good suggestion not just for marketing purpose but to keep in touch with knowledgable patient population and constantly to upgrade their own knowledge!!Dr.Murali

  2. Posted May 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Thanks liked it ,keep posting

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