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General Practice Website Solutions

Are you thinking of putting your General Practice online?

Maybe you want to update your current website to provide a better service for your patients and community?

If you are a GP Practice you may be considering commissioning the development of a practice website but you may still be unsure of what the real advantages and benefits would be?

So what could a GP website solution do for you and your Practice?

The most basic form of General Practice website would be based on the practice leaflet including contact information, a map, opening times, clinic times and a list of practitioners, nurses and staff. However your website can provide further information such as patient information and links to useful online resources such as NHSdirect. Links can be placed on the site so that patients can access treatment options and medical information on the NHSdirect website and they can then make an informed choice as to whether they need to visit the Practice. This also reduces the chance of misinformation and can correct misconceptions and can also reinforce what the patient may have been told in the consultation but may have forgotten by the time they have gone home.

Many Practices use a Newsletter to keep their patients up to date with information and new services and developments. A website can increase it's effectiveness and also reduce cost. Consider placing the Newsletter on line for those patients who have access to the Internet.

Your website can also provide a way for your patients to conveniently order repeat prescriptions or book consultations. Since this information is very sensitive it is handled in the same way as an e-commerce website handles credit card information. The information such as patient name and DOB or computer ID and prescription details are entered by the patient online, this information is then transmitted to your webserver using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technolgy. SSL is the same technolgy used to transmit credit card information over the internet and uses 128-bit encription of the data. Once the information reaches the web server it is emailed to your practice using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encription which is the equivalent of SSL for email. PGP encrypts the data and ensures that the information can only be viewed by the person it is addressed to. This is all done automatically behind the scenes. From the patient's point of view they are entering their repeat prescription online, but since they are entering the information onto a secure webpage they can order their repeat prescription with confidence. Most web browsers display a closed padlock icon when the user is on a secure webpage. At the practice end you will receive emails to a dedicated email address. Each email will contain an encripted repeat prescription. PGP plug-ins are available for the most popular email software that will automatically de-encript emails received.

A Practice website can also increase patient satisfaction as it improves communication by providing online access to patient information in the depth and breadth that a Practice brochure cannot. The site can provide patient education for self-care, prevention or early intervention. In the USA patients monitor their weight, pulse and blood pressure at home and send the information via email for review by their nurse or doctor. Of course this does not replace all client contacts and visits but it can help to monitor and individual's condition if they require an intensive period of monitoring.

A Practice website can also measure patient satisfaction by having online patient surveys. These can be general surveys such as the GPAS or specific surveys e.g. what your patients think of Advanced Access? These can be set up so that there is a database behind the scenes which analyses the data thus freeing up considerable Practice time and at the same time fulfilling PCT, revalidation and the new GMS requirements. The database can also be designed to produce automatic reports for you to pick out the areas for service improvement.

A website can also be an excellent tool for networking with colleagues and allied professionals who provide services to your patients. Your website can contain all your contact details and any other information you provide to other professions and referral sources. This can easily be revised by you so that it always contains the most up to date information about your Practice. Non-public information can easily be password protected if required.

Here at Phizzie Designs we would like to help you design, develop and launch your Practice website. Once you are online we can manage the site if you wish or we can develop it with you so that it can be managed by you.

Depending on how often you intend to update your website if may be very cost effective to invest in a Content Management system, such as Macromedia Contribute. This would allow you to easily update your website when you need to without having to pay a web designer every time your clinic times change or you wish to add new patient information.

 

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