Neil H. Baum, MD, is a urologist in private practice in New Orleans. He is the author of "Marketing Your Clinical Practice-Ethically, Effectively, and Economically."
Dr. Dowling is president of Dowling Medical Director Services, a private health care consulting firm specializing in quality improvement, clinical informatics, and health care policy affecting specialty care. He is the former medical director of a large,
Adding physician videos to a Web site is a unique and easy way to not only make your practice stand out, but also provide another avenue for patient education.
What's in it for you?
Videos made easy
One need not be a tech whiz to make and post an Internet video, thanks to sites like YouTube ( http://www.YouTube.com/) and VideoMD ( http://www.VideoMD.com/). VideoMD is a free, user-friendly site where physicians can add their own videos. The site's staff reviews submissions in order to ensure accuracy, and also allows for the creation of online communities for physicians and their patients.
Arguably the best-known Internet video site today, however, is YouTube. YouTube allows the user to inexpensively and seamlessly create short videos, form discussion groups centered on specific topics featured in videos, and embed YouTube videos on the user's own blog or Web site.
How it works
If you wish to create a video for YouTube, you can use a standard video recorder, the files from which can be uploaded to YouTube in QuickTime, Audio Video Interleave (AVI), or MPEG file formats. Viewers can watch your videos in their Web browser if they have Macromedia Flash Player installed on their computers. The beauty of YouTube's streaming video is that it is not stored on your computer and does not take up space on your hard drive, making it faster to view without slowing down your computer. All of the videos are stored on YouTube's servers.
The easiest way for viewers to access your video is via a link to that video page on the YouTube site. Every YouTube video has a unique URL that can be pasted into e-mail messages, newsletters, and your own Web site.
YouTube also allows you to take public videos created by others and embed them into your Web site. This will probably require the assistance of your site developer unless you are familiar with Web design. There is a very visible code that can be copied and pasted into the HTML code on your site. When a site visitor clicks on the video, it is launched from YouTube's servers to your viewer's Web browser just as if it were delivered from the viewer's server. This means the viewer doesn't waste any of his own storage space or bandwidth on the video.