Altru Health System (Altru) needed a new intranet. Specifically it needed a responsive one. The Grand Forks, ND-based health system employs more than 4,000 individuals, many of whom need to access information from mobile devices.
But the intranet redesign team knew they faced challenges in making their dream intranet a reality – particularly around having the dedicated resources to develop a new intranet from scratch. That’s why the organization partnered with its digital agency Geonetric to bring AltruLink to life.
We’re excited to announce Owensboro Medical Health System (OMHS) has launched a newly redesigned intranet, called Extra+. Extra+ helps OMHS communicate with employees and gives employees a central hub for all internal communication.
What’s best about Extra+ is the wide variety of information employees can find, including policies, documents and departmental information. OMHS employees can search through more than 1,000 documents using VitalSite’s policy and procedure manager! For example, if you recently completed a very large EMR implementation and wanted to make training documents available to all departments. Extra+ has you covered! Or, what if you’re interested in learning more about how OMHS supports health and wellness and maybe even sign up for screenings? No problem!
I‘m at the mHealth Summit outside of Washington D.C. learning about the emerging role that mobile technology is playing in healthcare delivery. The numbers are the ones we’ve heard over and over again – growing smartphone and tablet adoption, faster data plans and pervasive Wi-Fi.
Most of my focus relates to the ways in which consumers use mobile technology and the opportunities mobile provides for healthcare organizations to connect with consumers.
In contrast, much of the mHealth Summit discussion revolves around how clinicians and staff use mobile devices. A recent study from Manhattan Research indicates that large numbers of clinical professionals are using smartphones during patient consultations.
So you’re considering turning your intranet into a lean, mean communication machine? Well, we have good news! It can be done. Genesis Healthcare System recently worked with Geonetric to overhaul their intranet, aptly called iGenesis. (This is in addition to the website we recently launched for the organization.)
With consistency being a big focus, it was important for the intranet design and information architecture to coordinate with Genesis’ new public facing site. So, many of the same design elements on their website are shared throughout iGenesis as well.
We included our Policies & Procedure Manager software as part of the build. Like many healthcare intranets, over the years iGenesis had become a central repository of information, housing numerous outdated documents and broken links. The goal was to create a centralized location where human resources could not only house current and up-to-date policies, but also quickly communicate changes via the intranet to employees.
The new content structure and organization enables users to efficiently find searchable content. Users can search by using an internal search or find what they are looking for in just one to two clicks. For example, a nurse looking for the most recent policy on Insulin: Continuous IV Administration can navigate directly to this policy in a few clicks or search directly by typing out a few keywords in the main navigation.
We had a great webinar last week, Using the Web to Empower Employees, and had lots of great questions. So many questions, in fact, that we weren’t able to address all of them during the session. So I’d like to cover some of those here. Because many of them covered similar topics, I’ve combined a few that had the same answer.
Q: How do we encourage adoption and usage of our intranet?
A: Obviously this is a complex goal to accomplish. “Build it and they will come” is a sure recipe for failure. I see three major pillars to growing usage and adoption of your intranet.
The first pillar is credibility. Building strong credibility requires a holistic approach to quality in everything that is delivered. Content needs to be accurate and well written. Executives need to communicate with candor, substance and transparency. Functionality needs to work and be easy to use, and design needs to be engaging. Yes, design – there is a growing set of research demonstrating the very significant impact of design on the perceived credibility of both public websites and intranets, but intranet design is often neglected.
The next pillar is anchor content and capabilities. Think of your local mall. Many of the stores would never be able to survive as stand-along shops, so they depend on anchor stores to draw the crowds What are the anchors of your intranet? Cafeteria menus, classified ads, HR self-service for benefits selection and executive blogs =may not be significant value drivers in their own right, but they serve as excellent anchors to get users in the habit of using the intranet on a regular basis.
Most hospital Web teams focus almost exclusively on communicating with outside audiences – patients, consumers and the media. Web technologies can deliver value to employees as well.
Private websites for employees, also known as intranets, have been around for awhile. You’re probably even thinking, “We have one of those!”
However, it’s not enough to simply have an intranet. Many hospital intranets are little more than a pile of links to various applications. Although that’s important, your intranet should also help you engage and communicate with employees.
Usability guru Jakob Nielsen’s research shows that a well-designed intranet can save a mid-sized organization 5 million dollars per year. Is your intranet providing this level of value? Is there more you could be doing?
At the very least, your intranet should serve as a source of information. But once you achieve that, work on taking your intranet to the next level. Add more capabilities to increase the value it provides.
There are few key areas to focus on as you evolve your intranet.
An intranet site can be a powerful tool to improve transparency and internal communications – but only if it’s user-friendly and highly-functional. And of course, it needs to reflect the organization’s brand and extend information already being distributed on the Internet site.
Those were the challenges presented as we kicked off an intranet project with Southern Regional Health System earlier this year.
On the plus side: 1) we’d already partnered with them to deliver a highly successful Internet site, so we were knowledgeable about their hospital’s brand and messages, 2) we’d developed great working relationships with their awesome marketing team, and 3) our VitalSite software makes it incredibly easy to distribute content ownership to many departments while maintaining control over brand standards.
If you walk the halls of Abington Health, you may hear a physician or other employees refer to it as “The Bing.” So when Geonetric and Abington began working on their new intranet, it was no surprise the intriguing name was quickly assigned. It just seemed to fit, even to me, someone who didn’t work there.
The name, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg for this new intranet.
The Bing showcases Geonetric’s Web-based policy and procedure manager that will help Abington’s 6,400 employees better manage and organize important documents. Other features include a unique approach to content organization and using tabs to separate organizational information from clinical information. The site also features an employee spotlight. Organizations understand the importance of employee recognition and these features add a unique ‘personal’ feeling to the site. Now that I have a teenager in the house, I compare it to ‘athlete of the week’ on the local news. I checking out the athlete of the week to see if it may be someone I’ve seen walk through my house or play against my child.
Sure, every hospital needs a Web site, but what about an intranet? Is having an intranet for your employees truly worthwhile? Really, what can an intranet do for your employees? You hear about time efficiencies and cost savings, but what does that really mean?
Let’s take a look at a few Geonetric clients who have recently implemented intranets: Methodist Medical Center of Illinois (MMCI) and University of Colorado Hospital (UCH).