Medical Web Development: Design Essentials, Features, & Processes
The outbreak of coronavirus has boosted searches for medical specialists.
Billions of people look for healthcare-related information online. Over the last few months, the number of searches has grown by 20%.
Many companies are in drastic need of medical web development, as they strive to adapt to this new reality.
A healthcare website is the face of your medical practice. It can either help grow your business or cause it to turn to dust.
Moreover, innovative solutions like internal web portals and management systems are important for medical businesses. They help increase the efficiency of the healthcare sector and allow it to better withstand the growing flow of patients, both online and offline.
This article will help you better understand the basics of healthcare website development, namely:
- how your medical сenter can survive the crisis
- key secrets of medical website design
- top 10 medical web development features your website can’t live without
- tech components of medical website development
Let’s jump right into the tech and business details!
MLSDev Experience in Healthcare Website Development
MLSDev provides secure medical web and mobile app solutions for end-users and businesses. Our projects follow medical regulations, provide a great user experience, and help medical institutions with their needs.
Here are a few projects that we developed for the medical field:
Idana - designed to help doctors perform anamnesis for patients before their actual visit to the clinic. Due to the project’s specifications, we offered to develop a progressive web app, which is compliant with the IEC 62304 standard that applies to all medical device software.
This medical web development allowed us to reduce the guesswork and improve the quality of the medical services provided.
Health & Fitness - a web healthcare platform that collects and interprets personal health data for users, doctors, and coaches. Thanks to the medical web development of this platform, patients can unlock the full potential of their personal data. The software collects data on over 50 physical and mental health parameters.
Users can open access to data and get medical recommendations remotely. They can also consult with a doctor and even create a personalized fitness plan.
Doctor booking platform - we have experience working with enterprise clients. Among them is a large biotech company in the Dominican Republic.
The platform we designed unites and digitizes the work of medical centers (clinics, laboratories, vaccination centers) and provides advanced patient care services. This includes complex medical web development solutions for doctors.
If you want to learn more about the solutions we have developed for our clients, take a look at our medical web and mobile app development portfolio. You will learn how our clients have solved business problems with robust apps and web medical solutions.
Deep expertise in medical website development allows us to create robust healthcare solutions for businesses and users.
We would be glad to assist your company in the development of the following medical services on the web, namely:
- information portals
- professional networks
- warehouse and supply chain management systems
- CMS for medical center
- data analytics platforms
- IoT software for healthcare organizations
- doctor training platforms
- knowledge bases
- online medical staff hiring platforms
- clinical trial data management systems
Do you have a medical project idea and need a development team to help?
Get in touch with our team so we can analyze your medical project for the web, estimate its cost, and create a potential team-set. Get in touch with us to get a consultation with our Software Architect and Business Analyst to discuss how we can help you with medical software development.
Medical Web Development: Key Considerations
Medical website development has some technical aspects that should be considered before beginning.
The best medical website development practices combined with modern technologies will ensure the reliability and fast performance of your solution.
1. HIPAA and HITECH compliance
Providers of medical services deal with protected health information (PHI) every day. PHI is all information related to health services, which is protected by HIPAA regulations. Sensitive data includes information on health issues, symptoms, as well as insurance, patient forms, and financial credentials.
The website for a medical service provider needs to be HIPAA compliant. HIPAA outlines the requirements for the processes behind the management, storage, and transmission of PHI.
HIPAA resonates around four basic rules:
- Privacy Rule
- Security Rule
- Enforcement Rule
- Breach Notification Rule
To become HIPAA compliant, a company needs to meet all of the specified criteria of data handling, assign a HIPAA compliance officer, prepare and publish a policy, and ensure data encryption.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) supplements HIPPA and provides patients with extra protection.
First of all, they must have online access to their Protected Health Information and must be notified of any data violation. Furthermore, if a data breach impacts the data of 500+ patients, the medical company needs to inform the United States Department of Health and Human Services about the occurrence.
Depending on the level of the data breach and a company’s reaction to it, the company could be charged with a number of penalties, starting from a single payment of a hundred dollars per violation, and reaching all the way up to $1.5 million.
Try to hire a medical website development company whose specialists know how to make a website compliant with the relevant regulations. You can also check out this HIPAA Compliance Development Guide, which provides a full overview of the requirements and regulations.
3. Use of SSL certificate
Whether your medical website sells something or not, you should use HTTPS and SSL certificates.
This security protocol ensures a secure connection with the server. The protocol encrypts all data that travels from your website to the servers. The price range of SSL certificates is broad - from $8 to $4,000 per year. The cost depends on the type of protection provided and the number of domains you need SSL certificates for.
4. Web responsiveness
After the internet moved from PC to other devices, website responsiveness became more important than ever before. Any website should look equally as great on a big computer screen as on a tablet or smartphone.
If a website fails to ensure a great user experience on all devices, the service provider stands to lose customers. The Socpub states that 57% of users are unlikely to recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site to friends.
Note: If you already own a medical website, this is a cue to make it responsive.
Bring your online presence to a new level with a healthcare mobile app!
Read the article Healthcare Mobile App Development: Types, Trends, & Features to get some in-depth insight. You will learn advanced details of healthcare development, learn which features these apps are comprised of, and how to ensure a seamless user experience for your clients.
5. Quick load times
When it comes to loading times, medical websites should load in a flash. On average, users expect a website to load within 2 seconds at most. Any longer than that and you could lose potential customers.
Google values quick load times.
Quick load times should be on the list of priority tasks for medical web development. These sites are more likely to rank better and get into the top places in Google search results.
6. Simple & clear website navigation
All information on your website should be no more than two clicks away for visitors. Otherwise, they are likely to become frustrated and leave. Medical web development should concentrate on the logical organization of menu items and information structure.
7. Value-giving content
Medical practice website development should aim to create websites with useful information.
You need to provide patients with relevant content at each stage of their customer journey. The website should include pricing info, patient testimonials, contact and location info, an FAQ section, etc. Pay close attention to the creation of the “About us” page.
Business2Community found that 70% of websites belonging to small businesses lack a clear Call to Action (CTA) on their homepage.
Don’t be like these businesses. Place your medical practice web site among the 30% of businesses with strong CTAs.
8. Well-structured website layout
Pay close attention to clear and well-organized content structure, since website visitors usually skim through and expect the text to be presented in the form of short sentences. Bulleted and numbered lists, short paragraphs and sentences, and easy-to-read fonts help users pull the necessary data out of context.
The content layout should be well-planned during the medical website design stage. Furthermore, it should certainly be implemented in medical website development.
9. The application of SEO practices
Search engine optimization (SEO) drives the online world.
The application of top SEO practices is important if you want to have Google and other search engines love your website. SEO increases the likelihood of a website appearing at the top of SERP (search engine result pages). Thus, your medical website should apply SEO to attract new clients to the medical establishment.
10. Chatbot integration in medical web development
Chatbot integration is a great idea if you need to reduce manual work and streamline the customer experience. Chatbots can perform a lot of tasks, including patient management, assisting in emergency situations, helping with medical issues, providing results on analysis, etc.
11. IoT for medical web development
The introduction of IoT technologies in healthcare can help improve the internal processes of different medical establishments.
A combination of sensors with software can be used in medical website development to monitor patients’ health from a distance, control how patients take drugs while they are home, and remind them when to take them.
There are a lot of possible implementations of IoT in healthcare, including advanced inventory management, wearable devices to monitor different aspects of health conditions, insight into valuable data that helps to treat chronic diseases, and much more.
Do you need a web development agency that can implement your idea in real life?
Read our article Outsource Web Development Wisely: Useful Tips and learn how to choose the right company for your next project. You will find out 3 steps of web development outsourcing, the difference between offshore and nearshore outsourcing, and how to make the best choice.
Essentials of Medical Website Design
Medical website design and development are two inseparable notions.
Medical web development consists of the following steps:
- creation of medical website design
- front-end medical website development
- back-end medical web development
- quality assurance
Below, we will talk about medical website design and how to create a successful brand’s visual representation.
What makes a good website design?
A professional medical website development company will know the answer to this question.
Over the last few years, simplicity has become the best medical website design practice. Healthcare websites with fresh and uncluttered designs perform better. Medical website design should provide patients with a smooth user experience and seamless navigation.
Below, they are overviewed in vivid detail.
- Flat & laconic design
Medical website design is not about entertainment and colorful interfaces. Instead, it should broadcast trustworthiness and reliability in a simple and user-friendly layout.
The Olathe Health example below has a very laconic design.
The first thing users see is the homepage with the key services of Olathe Health. Furthermore, they can search for the details they need like the closest location, a doctor, a way to pay a bill and jump to useful resources, and so on.
- User-centric design
Any medical website design company understands the importance of a user-centric interface. A doctor’s office website should not be about medical practices. Instead, it should be about patients and their issues.
Take a glance at the example below.
Royal Adelaide Hospital is another example of user-centric medical web development. The website provides users with simple navigation, a full list of provided services, and advanced filtering options.
- Appropriate color scheme
Medical website design usually utilizes neutral colors. These colors should contribute to the user’s good impression of the company. Blue, white, red and their main shades are the most popular color palettes in medical website design.
The below image is a vivid example of how color schemes can create a brand impression.
- Real-life photos & high-quality graphics
When it comes to medical website design, many websites look the same.
The reason for this is the use of the same dull, standard photos and graphics. Set your website apart with photos of doctors at work, happy patients, and interiors shots of the doctors’ offices. The same goes for graphics.
St. Andrew’s Hospital rocks this principle of successful healthcare website design. Behind-the-scene photos give the feel of doctors who care about your health.
- Animations & interactive elements
Animations and interactive elements eventually invaded medical website design and development. A few years later, the trend still stands.
Animations, videos, and pop-ups add a special touch to interactive medical website design. Designers should ensure that these elements match the healthcare website design.
Don’t forget to check out the latest trends to stay up-to-date. Medical website design and development should strive to create a user-centric design and seamless user experience.
Do you require medical website design and development services?
Contact us and get recommendations from our specialists on the latest trends in healthcare web design and development. Furthermore, our professionals will evaluate your project, estimate website cost, and provide you with a timeline.
Healthcare Website Development Components
Custom medical websites are built from scratch. From the technical point of view, these platforms consist of frontend and backend parts with the addition of APIs.
Let’s check out these details in greater detail. This will help you better understand the medical website development process.
Web Frontend includes all the visual elements that users interact with. It is the technical implementation of UX/UI design created in the first stages of development.
Usually, frontend development utilizes the following web technologies:
- Markup languages: HTML5, CSS3
Medical websites, such as internal portals, might require the use of a CMS (Content Management System). These systems allow for the storage of different types of content, including surgical videos, images, and documents effectively. This sort of repository allows access to data for all employees working inside a hospital’s network.
For you to note: It is possible to choose a ready-to-use system, but it is more recommended that you create a custom solution tailored to your business needs.
Web Backend is the server side of medical websites that works with information. Backends are where all the behind-the-scenes operations happen and website features operate. The tech stack used for backend development is usually the following:
- Programming languages: Ruby, Elixir, Python, PHP, Java, etc.
- Web frameworks: Ruby On Rails, Phoenix
- Database servers: PostgreSQL, MySQL
- Web servers: nginx, Apache
- Cloud server platforms: Amazon Web Services (AWS, EC2, S3, etc.)
Usually, during the discovery stage, the Software Architect and Business Analyst inspect project requirements and decide on the best stack of technologies that will underline your project.
API (Application Programming Interface) - a set of commands that integrates your website with third-party services. Some of them are as follows:
|Medical Web Development Domain||Service|
|Secure data exchange and management||Human API, Box API, TrueVault, iHealth, Allscripts API, AdvancedMD AP, Cloud Healthcare API|
|Doctor background checks||Doximity|
|Data hubs||WHO/Europe Data Warehouse API|
|Patient management||Drchrono API|
|Prescription-refilling features||Walgreens Pharmacy Prescription API|
|Clinical trial data exchange||Clinical Trial API, OpenTrials API|
|Machine learning and analytics||Google Cloud Healthcare API|
|Online payments||Stripe, Braintree|
|Medical education||CPE Monitor Service API|
|Symptom checkers||ApiMedic Symptom Checker API, BMI Calculator API|
Here are a few examples of the medical web projects that can be developed with these technologies:
Warehouse and supply chain management systems - designed to help businesses monitor the supply chain, delivery of medical supplies, and their storage inside warehouses. These web systems provide doctors and other medical workers with information on all drugs and supplies in stock.
Data analytics platforms - these solutions can be developed based on machine learning and data science. They allow medical staff to quickly access the data they need on medical trials, patients, illnesses, etc,
Doctor training platforms - centralized educational hubs created to help doctors advance their skills and share knowledge with others. These platforms could be very useful due to the current situation with COVID-19.
Knowledge bases and portals - these are used to provide medical employees with access to different types of educational content, such as the regulations used in a particular hospital.
Online medical staff hiring platforms - these help to solve the problem of quickly finding qualified medical workers. These platforms contain information about medical workers, their qualifications, experience, etc. Hospitals in need of new employees can look through the data and find specialists that meet all their criteria.
Clinical trial data management systems - the task of these solutions is to help manage all aspects of clinical trials. They usually contain information about patients, their appointments with medical institutions, reports, etc. Systems are used to help analyze and manage data on clinical trials.
The above stack of technologies is basic, so you might need to use some other technologies based on your business needs. With the help of more technologies, you can ensure robust medical web development and implementation of robust features.
Do you want to explore the enticing future of IoT technology in healthcare solutions?
Check out the article IoT Healthcare: What the Future Holds for the Healthcare Industry to learn more. You will find out the benefits of IoT solutions for medical practices, the main challenges that the IoT solves, and possible use cases for this technology.
Key Functionality for Medical Website Development
Medical website development is centered around ease of use and a broad set of features. The combination of these two approaches translates into successful healthcare projects.
Let’s take a closer look at the main features that make for good medical web development.
1. Intuitive search
Why do patients visit a medical website?
In most cases, they are looking for information. Provide them with an easy way to find answers to pressing questions.
If you are looking for inspiration, check out Lifecare.
Medical website developers created a great search mechanism for the Lifecare clinic. Patients can find clinics based on their GPS location and filter the services provided by clinics. What's more, the website allows patients to immediately book a consultation with a hospital.
2. User-friendly website navigation
Don’t make the interface a stumbling block for visitors. Accessibility is the first step in medical web development.
Easy-to-read fonts, a contact form, and logical structure form the very tip of the iceberg.
3. Online appointment scheduling
When patients find your healthcare service online, are they able to book an appointment?
If they need to visit your office or make a call, your website is useless to your business.
GetApp Lab states that 50% of users book appointments with service providers by phone.
Almost 41.4% do so online. Still, 56.4% of respondents get frustrated when they need to wait on hold or call during inconvenient business hours. Almost 31% say they are likely to choose a medical service provider that offers the ability to make an appointment online.
4. Online video consultation
Online video consulting is another highly demanded feature of medical website design. This feature allows patients to get quality medical care, no matter where they are. Patients have unlimited access to medical professionals. They can consult with a doctor, ask questions, and send images and test results from anywhere in the world.
5. Online payments
Medical website development addresses a lot of tasks, one of them being the need to accept online payments. Good medical websites provide users with as many payment options as possible (e.g. credit cards, using PayPal, Payoneer, and even Apple Pay and Google Pay.)
6. Useful downloadable resources
Some medical establishments still require patients to manually fill out applications and submit them in printed form. If that’s the case with your clinic, make applications downloadable on your website.
Consider including this functionality during your medical web development. This way, customers won’t need to hurriedly fill out forms and inevitably make mistakes. Instead, they can gather all the necessary information in the peace of their own home.
7. Detailed staff directory
Naturally, patients won’t place their trust in the hands of the first medical clinic they come across. They want to know who works at a hospital, what degrees they hold, and what experience they have. Therefore, medical website developers should keep this aspect in mind.
Placement of a medical staff directory on the website streamlines the process of choosing the right doctor for patients. These directories provide information on doctors, including qualifications and professional experience.
A good example of a directory like this can be seen below.
8. Social media integrations
The number of social media users worldwide is 3.484 billion. The chances are high that your patients are also active users. Social media marketing should become a part of your promotional activities.
By integrating social media with a medical website, it is possible to increase customer engagement. This option allows users to share your blog posts, e-books, and other content on social media, which could bring new customers. If you consider this feature for medical web development, you will need to use APIs and SDKs by social media, like Facebook SDK, Instagram API, etc.
Be careful not to store any data directly on devices. Data should be stored on servers. These servers or cloud-based tools (e.g. AWS) should encrypt all the data they receive. The data should be sent in the form of a limited number of simultaneous API requests.
9. Google Analytics integration
Among their broad set of tools, Google has the Google Analytics service. This free solution helps decipher user behavior, analyze marketing channels, website pages, and other marketing data. You need to include its integration in your list of medical web development tasks.
Wondering how much mediсal web development will cost you?
Check out the article How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website? You will learn about how the cost to create a custom website is calculated and the main influencing factors.
10. In-chat support and feedback form
As a medical service provider, you care about people’s health. Show patients that their opinions matter too. Make a feedback form part of your medical web development strategy. You can also include in-chat support and contacts for emergencies.
11. 3D tour of a hospital
This is not the most basic feature of medical website development. Yet, a 3D model of your medical establishment will help create an exceptional user experience. By navigating through your clinic, they will get a feel for your hospital from far away and are less likely to get lost when they visit it.
Reasons to Invest in Medical Website Development
Medical websites are the face of any healthcare business. Statista found that these websites are the main source of information about medical conditions.
Let’s take a look at the real results and benefits of medical web development:
- First brand impression
A website is an important part of brand image and a medical business in general. When clients can check information, quickly navigate through it, and find answers for questions they have, it all adds up to a general client impression.
- Point-of-contact with patients
Healthcare web development creates extra touch-points with customers. The dev process is not only about building a vivid website to show expertise. You can organize two-way communication with customers through feedback forms. The data you then receive will help you track and improve the patient experience.
- Lead-generation machine
Medical practice websites should provide the most essential information, including information about doctors, how to get an appointment with one of them, provided services, etc. When done right, medical website development turns into a powerful lead-generation machine.
One of the possible ways to accomplish this is with the help of technical SEO. This aims to make the front-end of a website lightning-fast for the best performance since search engines like Google take this factor into account. As well, they rank websites optimized for smartphones that provide an excellent user experience across all devices and browsers more highly.
- Marketing hub
Software development is similar in many spheres, but medical web development is different. Medical website developers build platforms on the basis of thorough marketing research, and analysis of competitors and target audience. Combined with outstanding medical website development skills, marketing data ensures the ongoing development and improvement of websites to meet ever-changing customer expectations.
- Enhanced healthcare operations
Medical web development for internal use has other intentions. Generally, these web solutions aim to streamline processes within a medical center. This could be anything from shared information access to supply chain management and drug storage management systems, or something similar.
- Unified source of medical info
Medical institutions deal with a lot of data and paperwork. With medical web development, it’s possible to create EHR software that will help manage all information on patients. Instead of printed patient records, data is stored in an internal system that is accessible to all medical staff.
Medical Web Development: Summarizing Steps
So, how can you create a professional medical website or portal?
Medical website development requires a thorough understanding of this sphere. The best solution is to turn to a professional software development team.
A medical web development company should provide you with the following services:
- Research target users, their needs, and possible expectations for the website or platform
- Create functional specifications for the website
- Create an intuitive and appealing design based on the best practices
- Develop corresponding functionality
- Provide ongoing support and maintenance
You need to remember that the success of your website does not depend only on the professionalism of the medical web development team. The process consists of different stages and strategies. Some of them are not directly connected with the technical implementation of the website, nor do they end with its release.
You are liable for the following aspects that influence the successful creation of a medical website:
- Choose a reliable software development partner
- Develop a strong digital marketing strategy including SEO, analytics, ads, and clear CTAs
- Work on branding and website content
Medical web development is a complex process consisting of different stages. The process addresses everything from business analysis to the release of the final version of your medical website. This requires knowledge of the latest trends and practices in medical web development.
Want to develop a healthcare website that will utilize the best practices of medical website design and development?
Receive an instant consultation and initial evaluation for your medical web development. Reach out to our team for more details.