Extranets offer a great way for hospitals and health systems to communicate securely with some of their most important audiences. They also provide the opportunity to make a good impression with those audiences.
Think of an extranet like an invitation-only microsite. Like a microsite, an extranet is a self-contained destination focused on a single audience and a relatively small set of goals. For example, extranets can be used to communicate with physician groups and board of directors.
It’s important to remember that extranets are secure and targeted. When implementing an extranet, treat it as a new website. Create an architecture, design, and tone that speaks to your audience. Make sure the content is relevant to them.
Also consider how you plan to manage the extranet. A content management system can make it easy for you to update content. It can help you:
- Create new extranet sites and secured content quickly
- Organize content and provide multiple navigational options
- Manage the permissions of individual users and groups
- Provide secure access to a variety of files including PDFs, Microsoft Word, and Excel
- Publish engaging, visually rich content using imagery and interactive design elements
- Use responsive design to ensure your visitors have a great experience on any mobile device
If you’d like to talk more about spicing up your extranet, give us a call. And in the meantime check out one of our extranet success stories.
Websites often focus on building relationships and broadcasting messages to a large, public audience. However, they can also become a very powerful tool for communicating with small, focused groups, like a board of directors, physicians, or business partners. Creating an extranet – a secure area of your site or separate site – allows you to share protected information and collaborate with your most important external audiences.
Extranets are similar to intranets but instead of targeting internal audiences, such as employees, they focus on audiences that operate outside the walls of your organization. Extranets require users to enter a username and password to access information – keeping the information secure. You can use an extranet to share items like important documents, agendas and meeting notes, educational materials and contact information. Information on the extranet is easier to keep updated and ensures everyone has the most current information. Users are able to easily access the information whenever and wherever it’s convenient for them, and they may also communicate with other members securely through the site.
And as an added bonus, extranets save time and money. Geonetric client Southern Regional Medical Center has been using VitalSite to manage communications with their Board of Directors and estimates they save more than $3,700 per month in printing and courier fees! Extranets eliminate the hassle of having to create and distribute printed documents every time a change is made.
Geonetric’s VitalSite content management solution makes it easy to create an extranet on your website. In just a couple of minutes and with a few clicks, you can create individual accounts and allow visitors to sign in and access only the pages and files you want them to see. Content anywhere on your site can be secured for your extranet. And you can use our SmartPanel technology to link pages and content on the site. Maintaining the content is easy too – if you can point and click, you maintain an extranet using VitalSite.
A board of directors plays a critical role in any organization. They’re responsible for determining an organization’s mission and purpose, overseeing the executive team, setting broad objectives, monitoring financial performance, planning, and allocating resources. Adding to those challenges, board members typically are not full-time employees and have other responsibilities. So it’s pretty critical to allow them to share confidential information from remote locations in a way that is easy, immediate, secure, efficient and financially responsible. Oh, and if it aligns with your green initiative, that’s even better.
Enter the board extranet. With the right software, you can use the Web to improve communications with your board of directors. It fulfills the whole list of requirements, and it’s easy to track the results to prove return on investment (ROI).
Many of you are thinking, “OUR board? Using the Web?” Absolutely. We have testimonials from our clients about how their board members are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, love the convenience and portability, and are pleased with the savings.
We recently posted a case study on our website about the success Southern Regional Health System experienced with their board of directors extranet. Read it for yourself. Just maybe, after your board experiences first-hand the value of targeted online communications, they’ll be more receptive to your budget request for a site redesign, new content management system or patient portal. Let us know how we can help!
Paper. You have reams of paper. Each month, you turn your reams of paper into hundreds of documents and assemble those documents into heavy binders.
You ship the binders off to your board of directors. They’re carried around for awhile. And finally they’re left to sit on a shelf forever. Sound familiar? This is likely the process your hospital’s administration team undergoes for every one of your board of directors meetings. And it’s repeated over and over, meeting after meeting.
In truth, it’s probably even worse than that. The information inevitably changes. What do you do? You reprint sections of those heavy binders. Then you call couriers to deliver them to all of your board members. You may repeat this once, twice, maybe three times. Finally, you’re off the hook for a few weeks. That is until the next board meeting, when you start it all over again.
It’s a familiar process that’s costly, time consuming and inconvenient. As healthcare organizations find ways to be more efficient and environmentally conscious, printing and reprinting board books sends the wrong message. There are better answers. Why not put the whole thing on those iPads you gave board members as a holiday gift, perhaps?
Yes, the answer is to go digital. It’s a simple change in many ways. You’re already assembling huge board books using digital files, so instead of printing the information, send it digitally to board members. Large files are tricky to email and even harder to email securely. Flash drives or CDs work, but still need to be delivered to board members.
A better solution is to share the information through a secure board extranet. Board members can simply log in from anywhere and retrieve the secured documents.
Here are three reasons you should implement a board extranet:
- Efficiency and cost-saving: Board extranets increase team efficiency and reduce monthly expenses. Plus you’ll use much less paper. You don’t have to spend time printing, collating, and binding your meeting documents. You’ll no longer have to pay for printing and delivery costs. It’s easier to distribute changes and updates too.
- Security: Ever wonder if your board member documents truly remain confidential? When you ship and transport important documents, you never really know whose hands they may fall into. To receive information through a board extranet, board members must use a secure login and password. And once they log in, they are able to access only the information for their corresponding committees. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your documents remain secure from you to your board.
- Collaboration: Board extranets provide a great vehicle to facilitate collaboration among board members, committees and taskforces. Members can upload agendas, meeting notes, educational materials, and other important information.