If you’re working in the healthcare sector, you probably already know that building a website for your organization is going to bring some unique nuances, compared to other industries. From legal requirements to design basics, we tackle the essential elements to keep in mind for healthcare web development.
Without exaggeration, the single most important aspect of healthcare web development is security. Your website needs to prioritize customer information, especially with the sensitive data that the healthcare sector often handles. This section breaks down the most important security aspects of a healthcare website.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a set of rules established to protect the privacy of patients and ensure the confidentiality of protected health information (PHI). Healthcare websites need to be HIPAA compliant because they are used to store and manage PHI. This means that developing a healthcare site will require some key changes to ensure that HIPAA compliance is met.
There are many ways to go about securing your website with HIPAA compliance. A reliable method is through an SSL Certificate (we’ll go into more detail about that later). Your site can also meet HIPAA compliance by encrypting data at rest and in transit. You’ll also need to include a notice of your privacy practices and HIPAA policy.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) was created to drive the adoption and “meaningful use” of electronic health records technology (EHR) by U.S based healthcare providers.
Complying with the HITECH Act is vital to a healthcare website’s success. Your business reaps higher efficiency, improved patient care, and other benefits by meeting HITECH standards. It also makes life easier for the patient since they now have constant access to their health information, making for a more informed patient experience.
Your website also needs to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for Accessible Design. This means that any healthcare website needs to be usable by those with hearing, vision, or other disabilities. All healthcare practices must comply with the ADA, regardless of size or number of employees. This gives every patient equal access and opportunity to visit your website and understand your material.
When building your site, selecting the right hosting is imperative. An easy way to ensure that your website is hosted correctly is by opting for a HIPAA compliant provider. These entities specialize in making sure that the necessary safeguards are met for HIPAA security. They know how to set up an encrypted healthcare website that protects user information and meets regulatory standards.
As we mentioned earlier, a smart way to meet HIPAA compliance is by securing your website with an SSL Certificate. This is a protective measure that many sites use in order to encrypt confidential information. That means that data travels through a secured server, and can’t be read without a unique key.
Certifying your healthcare website with SSL is an important step in complying with federal standards and providing a secure user experience. Customers will trust your business more if they know their data is protected.
If the design of your site isn’t geared to the unique needs of patients and healthcare, you risk losing visitors, trust, and profits. It’s in your best interests to make the user experience both simple and attractive, and thoughtful site design is the best way to make that happen.
- Mobile-Friendly– Your website needs to be compatible with mobile devices. As users today access their healthcare providers’ websites through many different devices, it’s simply a non-starter if your web page doesn’t translate to a phone.
- Clean and Simple– Your healthcare website should offer a clean and simple experience for the user. If your site is overloaded with a lot of information and images, fewer customers will want to try out your services. Design with simplicity in mind.
- Responsive Load Times– When building a successful site, you need to ensure quick and responsive features throughout. Slow load times and lagging sites will discourage users, ultimately damaging your business’ reputation and resulting in fewer customers.
- Navigation– You want your website to be easy to navigate. It should have a concise menu and button layout to make it easy for customers to find where they’d like to go. Prioritize the customer experience by simplifying your site’s navigation.
- Clear Call-to-Action– It’s a good idea to feature a clear call to action that prompts the customer to act. Whatever your desired action may be—schedule an appointment, contact us, refill prescriptions—you need to make it visible and attractive.
- Testimonials– Another great way to bolster your site’s design is by including testimonials. These are essentially consumer reviews that speak highly of your business. They help to build trust between you and prospective patients.
- Contact Information– The last feature that you’ll want to incorporate on your website is your contact information. It should be easy and straightforward for patients to identify your phone number, location, and other means of communicating with you. It’s especially key in the healthcare space, as patients often have many questions for their providers.
Designing an accessible healthcare site means taking into account a variety of factors. These are elements of your site that make it usable by all people.
- Colors– When building your site, you’ll be faced with a big decision: colors. It’s important to pick an array of shades that complement each other and highlight your business, while maintaining an air of professionalism and authority. In other words, now is not the time to test drive your favorite neon green background.
- Fonts– Another important aspect of your site will be the fonts you use. You want to choose a style of font that’s attractive, yet easy to read. It’s crucial that the font isn’t too fancy, as readability is key.
- Audio– Your site also needs to have audio compatibility for disabled users. This is how those with impaired vision will still be able to navigate your site easily. It increases the amount of potential customers you have, and benefits those with disabilities.
- Chat Option– One effective way to improve your patient experience is by including a chat option within your website. This way, customers can ask questions quickly without the hassle of calling your business or waiting on hold.
With the pandemic still in full swing, many healthcare providers have begun to offer their services via online chat and video. This allows patients to attend their regular appointments without having to go to their provider in person. It’s an essential aspect of doing business during the remote era. Let’s explore some of the components of telemedicine.
- Scheduling– Any healthcare website needs to have the ability to schedule appointments. Patients should be able to book a telemedicine appointment on your site without having to call.
- Consultations– Another central component of telemedicine is consultations. This is where the patient speaks with their doctor. Your healthcare website also needs to be able to conduct these consultations, likely via video chat.
- Prescriptions– During the remote era, patients want to be able to refill their prescriptions online. This means your healthcare website must have the functionality to let patients view their medications and ask for refills as needed.
- Payments– When folks are showing up for telemedicine appointments from their homes, they need to be able to submit payment online. Your website must have the ability to accept different methods of payment, making for a smooth customer experience.
- Notifications– Finally, your healthcare website will be in charge of sending important information to your patients via notifications. That might include appointment reminders, medication instructions, and other patient information that needs to be relayed quickly.
A successful organization knows its brand. In the healthcare sector, it’s especially important that branding decisions are made with a medical purpose and mission in mind. Here, we breakdown some of the key qualities of branding in healthcare.
- Logo– This is the face of your business. It’s how your customers will remember you. Work on refining your logo to ensure that it captures what your healthcare business is all about.
- Tone– The tone throughout your website needs to be consistent, trustworthy, and positive. Avoid complex jargon or negative phrasing which might scare off your visitors. If your site features medical devices, describe them in simple, familiar terms.
- Content– Your website needs to be filled with relevant content that benefits patients, but that also shows up in Google searches. Take the time to optimize your content for search engines by including the keywords and phrases your prospective patients will use to find your business in a natural and accessible way.
- Typography– This is the visual aspect of your healthcare site. You need to choose typography that’s attractive yet easy to read. For a healthcare business, it makes sense to use a modern, sleek font that communicates authority and expertise.
- Images– Your healthcare website will also need to include images that convey what you’re all about. These can be a comfortable environment, hardworking doctors, happy patients, or clearly labeled devices. Use images to say what words can’t, and bolster the branding on your site.
Make It Easy
Choosing the right web developer is an important decision, especially in the healthcare industry, since it will shape your company’s success moving forward. Building a website for your healthcare practice is a nuanced process. It requires both technical expertise and creativity to ensure that your website is secure, user-friendly, and visually appealing.
Buddy Web Design & Development is a leading team of experts who have helped healthcare businesses to build and upgrade their sites. We understand the unique needs of healthcare websites and work closely with you to address your goals and deliver reliably great websites. If you’re ready to talk about your healthcare site, we’ll be happy to connect and hear how we can help.