Your medical practice website isn’t just an online brochure for your practice — or it doesn’t have to be. Modern websites can help streamline your practice and provide value for your patients, too.
One way your website can work for you is in patient management: handling appointments, delivering lab results, and facilitating communication between your patients and your office. Your patients can fill out forms, set up or change appointments, pay bills, and ask questions on their own schedules, without taking up your office staff’s time. That’s a win-win.
You can also collect patient and office data, assuming you take responsibility for security for those records.
We’re going to look at how WordPress can make this happen.
A certified patient portal
If you use a certified patient portal, your website (WordPress or not) can link to that portal. WordPress makes this easier to do if you don’t want to bring in a web developer — your WordPress designer or webmaster can easily make a navigation tab connect with the portal.
Connecting the portal to your website is not only convenient for your patients, it also makes them feel more confident. They can access the portal from a place they trust: your website. We’ve also found that good design and content can increase patient use of the portal significantly.
It’s worth noting that there is an open source, certified patient portal designed for WordPress: OpenEMR. While we’ve shown this to clients, we’ve never used it in a website, so we can’t say how it compares with other portals.
Appointment booking plugins
There are plenty of plugins that allow patients to book appointments directly at your website. BirchPress Scheduler is one that is designed to work for doctors and dentists as well as spas, fitness facilities, and other health and wellness organizations. A simple, customizable form allows patients to book appointments with a calendar (you control available times on the back end), to set up accounts, and to pay their bills.
The admin section allows multiple locations, multiple providers, and has plenty of settings to make the plugin work for your particular needs. You can choose PayPal or Authorize.net to accept payments, and the plugin integrates WooCommerce to allow patients to “order” treatments if that’s appropriate for your practice. A patient could, for example, schedule and pay for a flu shot online — a great convenience.
If a good scheduler and payment portal is all you really need, it makes sense to use a plugin that does just that.
Practice management plugins
There are some complete practice management plugins available.
Dasinfomedia’s Hospital Management System offers a modular setup that allows management of doctors and other staff, payments and revenue, and all sort of reporting and document collection. The list down the left hand side in the screenshot below shows all the roles this plugin can manage.
This is a plugin; it won’t make you a website, but will create the modules you need for administration. It makes sense to us. While you could cobble together something using document management plugins, appointment booking plugins, team member plugins, user databases, and custom post types, this plugin really has everything set up for you.
You’ll need help configuring this for your particular practice, but it’s a very economical starting point.
WordPress is extremely versatile. These options should give you a sense of the kinds of patient management systems you can have implemented in your practice website. Give Rosie a call at 479.966.9761 to discuss how your website can do a better job for you.