It has now been seven years since the last amendment was signed to allow doctors and dentists in Zimbabwe to have an online presence.
Seven years later, a few medical and dental establishments and a few individual practitioners have a basic website and online presence.
In the past, many doctors and dentists considered it unethical for their profession to have an online presence, as they viewed it as a form of advertising.
There was a perception that having an online presence was a cheap gimmick, and reputable medical and dental professionals didn’t have to stoop so low to solicit patients.
There was a difference between GPs and dentists and supermarkets or shops selling their goods and services. Can you imagine a doctor’s and dentist’s office without a phone?
There is no way for patients, potential patients, outside organizations, or other important parties to communicate with your organization or make an appointment unless they come into the practice.
Zimbabwe’s mobile phone penetration rate is 102% and its internet penetration rate is over 60%.
In 2012, doctors and dentists pushed professionals to advertise online. This led to the Websites Board Policy of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe in 2014 allowing its registered members to have websites.
With the growth of information and communication technology (ICT) in Zimbabwe, it is now of utmost importance for doctors and dentists to have an online presence.
If you’re a practicing physician, a professional medical website might be the best thing to happen to your practice. With over 80% of urban patients in Zimbabwe able to Google a doctor before visiting a clinic, professional doctors in Zimbabwe need a professional medical website that provides online visibility for their practice.
When your web presence is managed by a professional web development company, your website along with your location and contact information will rank well in Google and other search engines and patients in your area will be able to find you online without making so much effort.
An online presence means scheduled appointments and ensures your practice can manage your OR time much better than ever before.
Keep in mind that your potential patient’s browsing habits change quickly.
Patients in cities also use their mobile phones to conduct online research, and a large proportion of them use multiple devices, e.g. B. a PC or laptop at work, a mobile phone on the go and a tablet at home, etc.
For a doctor to communicate effectively with their patients, your online presence needs to work just as well on large PC screens as it does on small mobile screens. Traditional web developer websites are really not up to the task.
Online presence is one of the most effective ways to educate patients. It allows doctors and dentists to reach beyond the four walls of their office so they can educate everyone in the community about their health. By not having a web presence, they are effectively shitting away from their responsibilities.
With the advent of technology, experienced doctors and dentists no longer practice but have become the deans of the medical and dental profession and are in the best position to provide online education to patients through the available online facilities as they can provide reliable information.
If they do not attend these establishments, they are seen as selfish, taking all of their clinical and dental experience with them to the grave.
Patients in Zimbabwe are already looking for your services online and we want to make sure they find you and your practice and that you are in control of what they find.
A web presence will soon become the norm for doctors and dentists, much like a doctor’s stethoscope!
Jacob Kudzayi Mtisi is a technology enthusiast who believes technology holds solutions for all sectors of the economy (@jkmutisi on Twitter)