If your website is just an electronic brochure you are stuck in the 1990s. Your website needs to be interactive. That means that users can get information or enter information. This process goes by several names but is commonly referred to as Web 2.0. An interactive Web 2.0 website is not just a static page but a site that users interact with to generate content or access personal protected information.
Interactive user generated content is the key element to that amazing phenomenon of social media. It is what will make your website a community that patients use rather than an electronic brochure they ignore. If your website is just a brochure for new patients then every patient has an incentive to go there exactly once in their lifetime. More website traffic means more Google juice. Interactive web sites are the final element of a truly paperless office.
What kinds of things can dental patients do online? Fill out forms. Check on their balance and make a payment. Confirm an upcoming appointment. Check on insurance benefits. Request an appointment and more.
You need several things to be able to have a web 2.0 dental practice web site. First of course you need to be using a good practice management system so that you are capturing patient information in a digital format. A patient can’t expect to check online for their next appointment if the appointments are being kept in a paper book rather than an electronic book.
Second you need to have a web page. Most dental web pages are static brochure type templated pages. These are an easy place to start but don’t offer much if anything in interactive use. However a basic static page can be upgraded to a more effective web 2.0 site.
Third you need a link between your dental practice server and your web site. This link allows patients access to the data stored in your office computer, like their balance or next appointment and it allows patients to send data to your office computer such as a payment or an updated medical form.
This link is the tricky part. It must be able to navigate your practice data, it must be able to add data in a proper manner and it must be secure. That is it must be password protected so that a patient can only see their own information.
Follow the link below for a good explanation of how Dentrix does it with what they call website manager. The link includes an easy to follow video.
Sesame Communications also provides patient login service.
TNT Dental offers creative designs and Interactivity.