On 23rd September 2022, the NHS issued their latest guidance on what makes a great website for GP’s. It was entitled ‘Creating a highly usable and accessible GP website for patients’ and makes interesting reading for anyone involved. And the wording used in the title is a big steer on what it is they’re looking at when it comes to a great website – usability and accessibility.
We’ve already looked at accessibility in terms of the 1 in 5 people who have a disability or long-term impairment in the UK.
But that doesn’t mean that the remaining 80% find it easy to access and use a GP’s website. But what do you need to do? What’s missing? Well, this guidance directly from the NHS helps to fill in the blanks.
Let’s take a look at the guide and what it means to you.
Benefits To Creating A Highly Accessible And Usable GP Website
It’s always noteworthy when you’re reading guidance from the NHS England as to what the end aim is of anything. Of course, the patient is always at the end of everything we do in the NHS. In terms of digital accessibility, the NHS England state that reduced patient waiting time, patient satisfaction and creating a place where patients can ‘self-serve’ are some of the benefits of creating a highly accessible and usable GP website.
And these are things that every GP practice is striving to achieve too – becoming a place where people can help themselves where they can to reduce waiting times and increase satisfaction. This runs hand in hand with a list of tasks the NHS England recommends should be really easy to achieve on GP website. The link for the article is here, so there’s no need to repeat these verbatim, but we’ll highlight a handful –
- Finding the address or phone number of the practice
- Getting a repeat prescription
- Getting a sick note for work
- Registering with the practice
These are simple tasks in many walks of life. A shop, for example, makes it as easy as possible for someone to find out how to get there and register for their loyalty card as an example. We can take many lessons from the way other websites operate to improve what we do as GP’s. And remember – that improvement is for the benefit of the patients and the practice.
Using a template that uses the NHS ‘look and feel’
This is a really interesting one from the NHS, because we here at iatro were the first specialist website partner for GP practices to do this. We know that the NHS brand and ‘feel’ are vitally important to patients in terms of how confident they feel they’re being looked after. It is a national brand with global reach. Patient confidence in the NHS is high. Reassuring them that you are part of the NHS is an important step in establishing for people browsing that they’re in the right place.
But it isn’t just slapping an NHS logo somewhere on the site and hoping for the best. The NHS is seen as a whole – and your GP practice as part of it. This means that using what they call the NHS ‘look and feel’ consistently and in a uniform manner will give people the reassurance that they can rely on the quality of the healthcare provided by your practice. And we’re here to help you achieve this.
Mobile Responsiveness As Standard
People look for healthcare support from any device at any time. It might be when picking the kids up from school on a mobile. Or watching a medical show on TV and looking to make an appointment on their tablet. Or using their desktop computer at work. And this means that your GP website must operate effectively on all of these devices seamlessly. And here at iatro, we’ve been building responsive GP websites for many years now.
The NHS advice in this guide goes further than this, recommending that your website is built for mobile first, with a staggering 81% of all sessions on nhs.uk in the first 6 months of 2022 being accessed by mobiles. It shows that the mobile phone has taken over as the medium to access healthcare advice and support. The NHS advise that you ask your supplier (hopefully us!) to show you their web design on mobile first to ensure it shows all the relevant information in an easy to access format. Of course, we’re already doing that.
Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about how iatro can help you make the most of the current NHS guidance – and keep you ahead of the curve in the future.