Managing Magic Cookies on my Alternative Therapy Website
Managing your alternative therapy website is part of iPEGS series of blogs on marketing your Alternative Therapy Practice. A covert plan to force our clients to use more paperless new client forms, informed consent forms etc.
As a modern business owner, as well as a healer, there are many hats we have to wear. Unfortunately ‘Webmaster’ is just one of them.
Most of us are not running big corporations, but small practices, or are even individual traders, so it is often up to us alone to get things right.
Websites for therapists are now as important as our shop window. There are many affordable websites for therapists, which are easy to manage. There are even some free websites for therapists that can work for us. The best websites for therapists, give you a lot of control not only of content but the system behind the content.
We might not have built our own website, but it is most likely that we manage it. We write the content, run ad campaigns to promote it, send out newsletters and use our web presence to build our patient base. It’s how we increase the numbers of visits on our therapist’s website and promote our therapy business.
Just as we manage the data that we collect from our new client forms, or medical histories and get informed consent to treat our patients.
Whether we collect this information using modern paperless forms or on paper stored in filing cabinets, even collected on our computer directly from our website, it still has to be managed.
KEEPING UP WITH THE RULES
This week I have been reading the ICO’S (Information Commissioner’s Office) latest newsletter and found out quite a bit of interest and might keep our clients out of trouble.
COOKIES AND THERAPY
There was a time when a cookie was something we indulged in with a cup of coffee. The first web cookies were called Magic Cookies in 1994.
Nowadays they are a vital part of our online activities. Just like using client’s data and GDPR, the rules are changing, and we have to keep up.
These magic Cookies have been around for 25 years, but are still a mystery to most of us. We have written a short blog explaining the term cookies if you wish to read it.
IT’S ALL ABOUT INFORMED CONSENT
The rules that regulate Cookies are the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, not GDPR but PECR. Just what I needed another Acronym to write about. However, it’s still all about informed consent .
You can read the full regs on their site.
Here are a few things that you might find interesting…
Now our visitor must take positive action to consent to non-essential cookies.
Essential cookies are only those that are strictly necessary to fulfil your client’s requirements. They are, for instance essential for your shopping cart, or for clients to log in.
Non-essential may seem essential to you, but the client is number one in this new digital era.
Even cookies that are helpful to make the client’s navigation of our website easier, need your client’s informed consent.
Your website must clearly tell our user what cookies are set and what they do, including third party cookies.
Pre ticked boxes or sliders cannot be set to on. Except for essential cookies, our user must take the decision to apply them.
Non-essential cookies cannot be set into our home page or landing page.
Analytics cookies need consent. They tell us if that ad campaign working? Did that mail shot work? How many hits did we get last week, where were they from, which pages did the client visit?
These cookies might seem essential to us as the website owner. However, if we don’t have analytics running, our user can still use our site. Therefore they are not essential to our reader. We need consent.
FORCING OUR CLIENT’S DECISIONS
‘Well if the client doesn’t want to let us use our very reasonable cookies, we can just block the page access right’?
It’s all about your user’s needs and their prior consent to use the information we glean from their visit. Which is not that different from when you explain the treatment you propose and ask for patients informed consent really. We wouldn’t consider treating people without consent, would we?
‘It feels like the ICO wants me to stop using cookies altogether’. Well not really, without cookies the web would come to a grinding halt.
There have however been a lot of abuses of user’s information and the pendulum is swinging back to personal choice. Which is not a bad thing. We have all, I’m sure, felt a little sore about how our data has been bought and sold in the marketplace by faceless multinationals.
Cookie compliance is an area of expansion for the ICO in the future. I sometimes wonder if it is also about protecting the huge corporations. Those who now own the internet from new competition, but maybe I am just a little paranoid.
BEING NICE AND SAYING PLEASE
That said it’s really just about being nice and asking permission. Most people are understanding and if you take time to explain why you need permission, will give it.
It would be worth your while having a look at your site and checking if you are up to date on your cookie policies. If someone else manages your website, talk to them about how your cookies are set and if they need to make changes on your behalf.
At iPEGS paperless forms, we are all about making life easier for our clients and helping them save time and money. If you are still using paper forms, stored in filing cabinets or on your computer. We can definitely help you save both. Why not check out our website and see how we can help? If you found this article useful please let me know.
By using the iPEGS Paperless System for your Consultation Forms, Consent Forms, Medical Histories and Treatment Plans you can be sure that your data is safe. As the data processor we store and encrypt your data in a secure, state of the art, UK data centre. We are Cyber Essentials Certified giving you peace of mind that our defences will protect against the most common cyber-attacks. We have achieved the IASME governance standard in relation to GDPR where we have demonstrated wider governance for management of the controls protecting personal data.
If you would like to know more, please email me: steve @ipegs.co.uk or you can call me directly on 01244 955350 and we can discuss how iPEGS can help improve your data security and client’s experience.