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What to look for when commissioning a new primary care website design

Written by Jack L

Are you a primary care provider planning a new medical website? If so, it is likely you will be aware that your responsibilities extend far beyond marketing your services attractively to patients, as is often the case in the private sector. 

In this blog, we look at some of the key considerations which primary care providers, including GP surgeries, primary care networks or Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) should be making when it comes to commissioning a new website.

Accessible website design

A primary care provider will serve the community. This makes it essential to consider all audiences and make the website easily understandable and navigable to as many people as possible. Adhering to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines will ensure that your site is accessible to a wide range of people with disabilities, as well as making your content more usable for users in general. 

Your website should behave in a predictable way, providing the user with enough time to read the site content. Measures should also be implemented to help users avoid and correct mistakes. For example, allowing the user the opportunity to review and correct what they have written before submitting a form.

Perceivable content

Providing text alternatives for any non-text content on your site is essential to ensure that your site is perceivable by a much wider audience. Content should also be created with the option of being presented in different ways. For example, creating the option for a simpler page layout without losing any information or structure. 

The way that the content will be perceived by your audience should also be considered. All content should be easy to understand as well as making the site as friendly as possible for those with conditions such as dementia. In the case of dementia, guidelines – such as using dementia positive language, like ‘living with’, rather than ‘suffering from’, dementia – are stipulated on the Alzheimer’s Society website.

Secure website hosting

As your website will be acting as a resource which needs to be accessible to people 24 hours a day, avoiding any downtime is essential. You can minimise any potential issues which might cause you to go offline by ensuring your website is securely hosted. This might be a dedicated server or a cloud-based model – the key will be to support any realistic volumes of traffic which you might encounter in the future, and ensure data which you hold is as safe as possible.

Cyber security

That leads us on to another website element which has never been more pertinent in the digital era – such are the number of malicious online threats which are capable of breaching website security and compromising the confidentiality of customer and patient information. Primary care providers need their online homes to be as ‘watertight’ as possible, eliminating any weak spot in their defences which could lead to breaches. Certification from the government’s National Cyber Security Centre can demonstrate your commitment to cyber security and adequate defence against the most common threat.

NHS Data Security Standards also mandate that all NHS websites must be secured against OWASP (Open web application security project) top 10 vulnerabilities (assertion 9.2.1).

Compliance with NHS brand guidelines 

Patients and users see the NHS as a single, unified service. The NHS is one of the most trusted and recognised brands in the world. It is, therefore, the responsibility of all users of the NHS identity to achieve the national standard of quality that is expected by patients.  All primary care websites should ensure that their site is compliant with NHS brand guidelines. This reassures patients that they can rely on the quality of healthcare wherever they see the NHS logo. 

Compliance with GDPR

The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) act changed the way in which organisations can request, and hold, data relating to patients and staff. From a GP surgery website through to a primary care network or CCG website design – it is now essential that any requests for patient data made on healthcare websites are now in line with GDPR guidelines, and that information is stored in a secure fashion in line with the regulations.

Trust the digital specialists

At Medico Digital, our team is dedicated to optimising the digital presence of healthcare businesses. We are in tune with the responsibilities of today’s primary care provider and are able to ensure that the websites we design tick every box.

Do you have plans for a new primary care website this year? Healthcare marketing starts with great website design.  From GP practice websites to CCG website design – Medico Digital can create the ideal online home for your primary care provider.  Give us a call on 0117 325 8961.

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