Due to the high risk of spreading COVID-19, many businesses, and healthcare providers have reduced or stopped seeing patients in person altogether. Social distancing is extremely smart right now, but what happens to patients that truly need to see a doctor or medical professional? People still need a way to continue to get medical care and treatment, especially from the safety and comfort of their own homes, which is why virtual healthcare is the new norm.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the needs for telehealth, telemedicine, and virtual healthcare massively skyrocket for people around the world. March 2020 alone had a 50% increase in telehealth visits due to the coronavirus pandemic. Analysts are also expecting that medical care visits will be over 200 million this year, which is way up from their original expectation of 36 million visits for all of 2002.
Now is the time to offer telemedicine for your practice as many people are still in need of medical treatments. We are going to be going over Google’s new search feature for virtual healthcare and how you can do the same.
Google Connecting People to Virtual Doctors
Google has decided to help people connect with their health care providers much more easily. Google’s main priority is to provide people with access to high-quality and authoritative information for their healthcare needs.
Google is currently rolling out new features in Google Search and Google Maps that will make it easier for people to connect to virtual doctors much easier. This feature will apply for any size medical practice that can offer telehealth services.
This new search feature will decrease the amount of stress and time when looking for help online. You won’t have to click on a medical provider’s name and then go to their website to see if they offer virtual healthcare options. Searching Google can be a daunting task, let alone for someone who needs medical attention.
Google My Business Profile Displaying Virtual Healthcare Options
This new virtual care feature is for healthcare providers like doctors, hospitals, and mental health professionals. Someone searching for medical assistance might see a “get virtual healthcare” link on their search results or maps. The person searching will be able to click on their link where it will bring them to the healthcare providers’ website for more information. You will see later on what we recommend doing for that landing page.
Due to every state having its own rules and regulations about what is currently open or closed, we’d recommend updating your information in your Google My Business profile. Google is automatically putting a link directly to healthcare providers’ COVID-19 information page on Google Search and Google Maps, so make sure to update yours. If you haven’t done so already, we recommend reading Google’s best practices on how healthcare providers should update their websites with the latest COVID-19 information.
Landing Page For Your Telemedicine Options
If you want to do this correctly, we would highly recommend building out a telemedicine or telehealth landing page that is built specifically for virtual healthcare. The last thing you want to do is have someone click your virtual healthcare link, but your website says nothing about virtual healthcare options. Here is an example of a telemedicine landing page that we just built for a local Scottsdale, AZ medical provider.
Make sure that your telemedicine landing page is straightforward and clear to understand. The whole goal of this page is to ensure confidence in the visitor that they know who you are, what you offer, and how they can make an appointment.
Treat the page as if the visitor has never heard of telehealth or telemedicine. We recommend listing out, “What is Telemedicine?” and then explaining the specifics on why telemedicine or virtual healthcare is important and what the benefits are. Remember, virtual healthcare is brand new to a lot of people that haven’t experienced it yet.
Next, list out the virtual healthcare services that you offer, so the visitor understands what you do provide and what you don’t provide. The last thing you’ll want is having to turn down a person who truly needs medical attention for services that you don’t provide.
Last but not least, list out how to become a new patient, what they should expect, and a call to action to either call now or book an appointment.
Virtual Healthcare Options in Search Results
This new virtual healthcare feature is beginning as a pilot for search results in the U.S.
Google gave an example of someone searching for “immediate care,” and the search results showed available virtual care options and related information about the visit. Some of this information would be on out-of-pocket costs charged for a visit (for those that don’t have health insurance). This will be an easy way for people to directly connect with a virtual healthcare provider without ever having to leave their homes. Virtual visits should take place on the healthcare provider’s platform of choice.
Someone searching for healthcare will be able to directly see in the results what virtual healthcare options are available and what the out-of-pocket costs are for a visit.
The world is changing every day at a rate that most of us aren’t used to. Being in the medical and healthcare industry, now is your chance to step it up a notch and provide that extra level of care for patients that need virtual healthcare. If you need any help with optimizing your website for COVID-19, setting up your Google My Business profile for virtual healthcare options, or building telemedicine landing pages, contact us today. We are ready to help our community just as much as you are.