The most valuable component of a doctor-patient relationship is trust. When a patient walks into your clinic, they trust you with all the information they provide. Similarly, patients who submit their financial and personal data (phone number, credit card numbers, etc.) on your website do that based on their trust in your website’s security. To deliver that security, it’s advised to use something known as an “SSL certificate.”
But what exactly is an SSL certificate, and why does it matter to your mental healthcare website?
In this article, we’ll give answers to these questions and disclose five benefits of using SSL on your clinic’s website.
Let’s get started.
What is an SSL certificate?
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate provides a secure connection by protecting the sensitive information transferred between the webserver and the browser of a user, preventing cyber criminals from sniffing the data and manipulating it. It adds a layer of protection in the form of encryption algorithms that scramble the data and make it hard for hackers to decrypt and forge it.
Whenever a user visits a website without an SSL certificate, the browser warns them of an unsecure connection (imagine what it would look like for your clinic):
The more secure and updated version of SSL, TLS (Transport Layer Security), plays the same (or stronger) role in securing the web connections.
However, SSL encryption has become the generic trademark for the standard security technology for the web. Therefore, it is a more commonly used term. Nevertheless, both digital certificates are based on similar technology.
What is a Wildcard SSL Certificate?
An SSL Wildcard certificate is a single certificate used to secure a multi-domain (subdomains) network of the same base domain. It does that by using the wildcard character (*) in the domain name field.
For example, a wildcard certificate for *.(yourTMSclinic).com, could be used to secure www.yourTMSclinic.com, mail.yourTMSclinic.com, blog.yourTMSclinic.com, and all subdomain names relating to a single domain.
What is an EV SSL Certificate?
An (extended validation) EV SSL certificate provides extended validation (EV), domain validation (DV), and organization validation (OV) that saves your website from all phishing and imposter attacks and makes the visitor feel safe while doing financial transactions.
How Does SSL Work?
HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) appears in the URL (on the address bar) of a website when SSL/ TLS certificates secure it. You can learn about the certificate authority’s details and the website owner’s company name by clicking on the padlock icon in the browser bar.
Each TLS/SSL certificate is delivered with two keys – a private key and a public key – to lock/unlock your information. A public key is used to encrypt the information, whereas a private key is required to decrypt the information in its original form.
This process of encryption/decryption may appear to be seamless for the website users, but in the backend, it looks something like this:
- A user accesses an SSL-enabled website.
- The user’s website tries to establish an encrypted connection with the server by requesting the server’s public key in exchange for its own public key.
- Whenever the end-user tries to send a message to the server via the web browser, the website uses the server’s public key to encrypt that message.
- The server then uses its private key to decrypt that message.
Similarly, the messages sent back to the browser are encrypted using the public key generated by the end user’s website.
5 Reasons to Secure Your Mental Healthcare Site with an SSL Certificate
By now, you must be aware of the importance of using SSL certificates on your websites.
Here are five additional value-inducing benefits that SSL can provide to your medical practice.
- Compliance with HIPAA
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 encourages medical entities to buy SSL certificates for their websites.
If your website is not secure, cyber thieves can easily steal your patients’ information, resulting in civil and criminal penalty charges for you.
Therefore, to make your TMS clinic’s website a HIPAA-compliant website, use an SSL certificate to encrypt your patients’ sensitive data that transits between your website and servers.
- Build Patient-Doctor Trust
Since a modern-day patient is more tech-savvy and aware of the necessary protocols, they no longer tend to trust a healthcare website blindly.
To build their belief in the healthcare community, you need to ensure that your website is a secure place for them to enter their personal/ private information.
If your mental healthcare clinic’s website is not secured using SSL technology, hackers may steal the unsecured data packets roaming over the web. Meaning, your patient’s private data is accessible to the hackers.
They can access your patient’s banking account through your website.
Therefore, SSL certificates can protect your credibility and save your patients from facing any financial setback.
- Increase Website Conversions and ROI
Many patients report that they feel safe to book an appointment on a medical website when they see a site seal, padlock icon on the browser bar, or HTTPS in the URL.
Considering that, if your website is not secure, your patients will bounce off and choose your competitors who have SSL certificates for their websites.
Therefore, to retain your patients, gain new ones, and increase your return-on-investment, you need to ensure that your website is secure.
- Enhance your Site’s SEO
Google considers site security as a direct ranking factor. What this means is that it prefers to display websites secured with SSL certificates higher in its result pages (SERPs).
If your TMS clinic’s website is not secured, you’ll have a hard time ranking in the SERPs.
Therefore, if you’re aiming for better visibility for your website on Google, you have to make it believe that your website is fully prepared to protect your patients’ (i.e., its users’) data.
- Enhance PCI Compliance
Your existence on the web alleviates your patients from visiting your clinic to make payment for a treatment or buy a product from you. They can easily do that by visiting your website and entering their credit card information from the comfort of their homes.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) provides guidelines on handling branded credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover) and enforces the merchants to implement SSL certificates to prevent cardholder data theft.
PCI-noncompliant websites may face penalties if the cardholder is affected by a data breach.
Summing it All Up
All things considered, if you’re not taking the online security of your patients seriously, sooner or later, you’ll be left behind.
Implement an SSL certificate on your TMS clinic’s website to enhance your legal compliance, boost your rankings, and convert your prospects into regular patients – before it’s too late.