Build & Maintain an ASC Website: Lessons From Stony Point Surgery Center at Medarva

The power of an online presence continues to grow in importance as more and more patients turn to their computers, phones and tablets to help them find and learn about providers, including ambulatory surgery centers.

Impage of Medarva SiteMedarva recently created a new website encompassing its Stony Point Surgery Center, its independent physician network and Medarva. Eddie Edwards, director of marketing for Medarva Healthcare, describes the process of revamping the website and the importance of maintaining a fresh online presence.

There were three factors driving the need for Medarva to update its website, according to Mr. Edwards. These included general updates to content and navigation based on traffic patterns of visitors to the site, the chance to better describe the difference and benefits of an ASC verses a hospital or outpatient department and to update its page which details out-of-pocket costs for services.

When building a website, finding the right company for the job is the place to start. While many companies can build a website at a rapid pace, not all are a good fit for an ASC. "Find a company that has done medical websites before," says Mr. Edwards. "One size does not fit all in the ASC industry." The selected company should also offer sustainable support. Once a website is complete, it will need to be regularly updated and even undergo major revisions.

Traffic patterns helped drive much of the changes to the new website as well. "Look at your analytics," says Mr. Edwards. "Find the reasons you need to rebuild." In the case of Stony Point Surgery Center, users were seeking specific information on physicians and basic information associated with medical conditions. The updated website is designed to be user-friendly. Important information is easy to find and complex medical terms are boiled down to their simplest form.

The new website, from redesign to launch, took about three months to complete. Before even beginning this process, Mr. image of Medarva Mobile siteEdwards addressed a large user trend he observed while tracking website user data. A significant portion of website traffic was coming from mobile devices. He created a dynamic website that recognized mobile or tablet devices and serves up the correct website for the particular device being used to view it. "Mobile sites are not expensive," says Mr. Edwards. "They are mobile versions of the original site that provides quick and easy access to information that a person on-the-go would need to access." Place important information, such as directions and contact information, upfront. Include secondary buttons for more detailed information.

Major redesigns will most likely require a company or expert's help, but these types of projects tend to be done every few years. But, an ASC website can remain fresh in between larger projects. "A content management system allows someone without any coding management experience to add or remove content on a website," says Mr. Edwards. A content management system can be used to change important information, such as physician contact information.

Updating information patients may need is particularly important before you make major changes. "When you update a website, it is indexed again," says Mr. Edwards. "You do not want incorrect information to show on your new website."

ASCs are run on carefully controlled budgets. The cost of a website launch and upkeep should not place undue stress on a center's bottom line. Two budget issues to consider when working with a company include:

•    Photography: "Look out for imaging. Do you want to work with a stock company? Or, do you want to shoot your own photographs?" says Mr. Edwards.
•    SEO packages: "If you are building a new website, SEO should be part of the build out. If a company is not making a website search friendly, they are not building it correctly."

More Articles on ASC Issues:
CON States: How to Open a De Novo ASC
Protecting Your Practice's Online Identity: 4 Things ASC Physicians Should Know
20 ASCs That Are 10,000+ Square Feet

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