Medical Practice Websites

Article Conference CoverageFrom 55th Annual Meeting of ASRM held conjointly with CFAS- Toronto, Ontario, Canada - September, 1999

click here for RealAudio/Video version  *requires RealPlayer- free download

Roberta Speyer: "Hello, this is Roberta Speyer, Publisher of I'm here at the ASRM meeting in Toronto, Canada, and I have the pleasure of talking today to Dr. Joseph Kennedy, III, from Tennessee. One of the things that we want to talk about is the marvelous web site you have. Your practice has a much better web site than you usually see online for most practices. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started with that, and what drew you to online resources?"

Dr. Kennedy, III: "Our practice is called - The Center for Applied Reproductive Science in Johnson City, Tennessee, and we practice reproductive endocrinology. We specialize in the care of women with infertility problems with various hormonal problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome, menopause, and bone density studies. A lot of our patients - we're in a rural area - don't have access to the kind of information that you might find in a larger city or large libraries, so we started our web site in a effort to provide quality medical information to people who might not otherwise be able to access it."

Roberta Speyer: "How long have you been online with it?"

Dr. Kennedy, III: "About a year and a half or so."

Roberta Speyer: "What has been the response from the community?"

Dr. Kennedy, III: "We get some patient referrals from people who have found us on the website, but overall, we found the patients really appreciate the information they find on our website. We have several information sources that are specific to our website material that we've developed or adapted and commented on the latest literature - which the patients can really find some kind of review in ways literature."

Roberta Speyer: "This is always difficult from a patient's perspective when you go to Medline, as many people with problems such as infertility will do, and they get a abstract. It's very difficult for them to extract what that means to them. So tell us a little more about how you handled that on your website."

Dr. Kennedy, III: "One of our more popular features is a feature where we've reviewed the latest literature. We list the journal that the findings were published in, and we give it a title so people can find out the information. We kind of briefly summarize what the study tried to attempt to do and then give a comment as to what our interpretation of what the study means to an average patient or someone in the field. It's very difficult for people - particularly non-physicians - to read medical literature and draw conclusions from it. It's always easier if you can look at the information, then have someone interpret it for you and give their spin on what it means to someone."

Roberta Speyer: "It must be very good to have a resource like this for your patients who are undergoing treatment with you to be able to go. They know that they can tap into it and find out what your opinion is on different things without having to call you and ask you - it's all there."

Dr. Kennedy, III: "Yes, there are some studies that come out of monumental importance, others that come out are just of minor importance and only add slightly to what we already know. We sometimes can help point out to patients which studies are real breakthroughs and which studies just add a little bit to our common knowledge."

Roberta Speyer: "What advice would you give to other physicians that are attempting to put together a website, pitfalls or pointers that you have from your experience as to how to make their website really a good marketing tool for their practice?"

Dr. Kennedy, III: "I think the biggest thing on our website is we've been able to provide information that's not available anywhere else."

Roberta Speyer: "So content is king?"

Dr. Kennedy, III: "I really think so. You can sign on to Medline, and anyone can track down literature but we add value to it by giving our clinical commentary on what it might mean to someone. So they can actually get some benefit from it even if they're not a medical professional who can analyze it themselves. So content is really important."

Roberta Speyer: "Have you found that having your website has increased the number of patients that come to your practice from any larger community outside your immediate community?"

Dr. Kennedy, III: "We do get some Internet referrals from quite a distance. It's difficult to practice medicine long distance, so we primarily try to focus on our service area but we still find a lot of patients within two to three, four hours have checked out our website and got maybe the first contact that they've had with our practice."

Roberta Speyer: "And then they will travel that distance to come?"

Dr. Kennedy, III: "Yes, we're in a position of treating the few that travel some distance. There aren't a lot of options in our area, some patients have family care physicians that may not know that we exist, so they're able to go out and research their particular condition and find out that there's some help out there for them."

Roberta Speyer: "That's wonderful. So doctors who are watching this, it's very important if you're going to build a website - would you agree Dr. Kennedy - to make sure that you're tailoring it to the needs of the individual community, and providing value added content information, not just a map, not just - here's our office and here's our staff, but really important information for the patient."

Dr. Kennedy, III: "One thing I might add, is that one thing that we also believe in is patient education in general. We get a lot of people who log on to our website in Los Angeles or other areas that obviously are not going to become patients of our practice, but I think part of the service to them is also beneficial."

Roberta Speyer: "Helping the worldwide community as well as the local community."

Dr. Kennedy, III: "Yes."

Roberta Speyer: "Thank you very much for spending this time with us and continued success with your marvelous website. We'll be adding a late link addition to view. If any of you would like to go see the website, it's certainly worth a visit; it has a wealth of very interesting and informative information. Thank you."

Dr. Kennedy, III: "Thank you."

Dr. Kennedy's website can be accessed by clicking here - for your convenience, a new window will open.


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