In an effort to boost visibility and attract patients, USC Care recently unveiled its site on the World Wide Web.
The site, located at http://www.usc.edu/go/usc-care/, allows visitors to call up detailed information about programs and services available at USC from its physicians. It includes a directory of physicians, specialties, clinical departments and directions to the Health Sciences Campus.
David Edens, former director for clinical systems, said the goal of the project has been to disseminate information widely about the USC Health System, and to do so at a tiny fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. “Any way we can get ourselves out in front of the market helps and this is just another means to do that,” Edens said.
The web site already appears on internet directories such as “Yahoo,” and can be entered from several points on Health Sciences Campus web pages and also from USC-affiliated hospital sites. The web address will soon be included on most promotional literature and in other advertisements as well.
Tammy Capretta, vice president and chief operating officer for the USC Care Medical Group, said the site will help “drive awareness that USC offers the full spectrum of private practice medical services. It provides another dimension to reach patients and service our ultimate mission, which is to show people the high quality and unique services we have available.”
Designed to promote health and wellness, the site is expected to attract a diverse and rapidly increasing worldwide audience – including the general public and health practitioners seeking information about USC Health System facilities, programs, services and affiliated practitioners, and also prospective USC students and researchers searching for school and program information.
The site was proposed more than two years ago, in part as a response to suggestions from patients, many of whom learned about the USC Health System and its physicians from people in Internet chat rooms and elsewhere on-line.
Robert Beart, professor of surgery and early web-site proponent, said “we were responding to what was already occurring in the electronic world. It became increasingly clear that the Internet was going to be an important way to get information to the patients.”
Beart, Librarian Linda Azen and others involved in establishing a USC Care web presence outlined a comprehensive site that could generate referrals. The site was planned to include a system of pages with standardized information and a consistent appearance that would make finding information quick, easy and intuitive for potential patients.
Along the way, its implementation unified a sometimes-confusing hodgepodge of web sites that had begun to spring up throughout the USC Health System.
The Instructional Imaging Center, which builds and maintains web pages for departments (call 342-1513 for more information) created the USC Care site, which went on-line in a preliminary form in 1996.
Howard Robbins, director of instructional imaging, said the site started receiving a substantial number of visitors at the end of last year, when it averaged about 1,000 visits each month.
Recently, the Health Sciences Campus Office of Public Relations assumed responsibility for updating the site and has completed significant content revisions in an effort to prepare it for its official debut.
The site now includes pages for all clinical departments and divisions except Rheumatology, Dermatology and Pediatrics, although those pages are expected to go on-line within the next few weeks. The web site also now includes reciprocal links to the home pages for USC/University Hospital, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, the Doheny Eye Institute and the USC/Norris Cancer Center and Hospital, so that visitors to one site can easily find their way to the others.
To update information on USC Care web pages, physicians and department heads should fax a copy of the page with legible corrections to 342-2832, or mail them to Jon Nalick at DEI 2510.