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.
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.
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).
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.