The beauty of the web is in its flexibility to transform to meet individuals’ needs. But it takes due diligence on our part as developers and content editors to make sure that content is provided in a way that assistive technologies can use to present the information in different ways. If done properly, this ensures that all information you provide on the web is available to everyone regardless of physical, cognitive, or technological limitations.
Healthcare systems are messy. Think about the growing number of different facilities and the departmental divisions that aren’t meaningful to patients but very meaningful internally. Consider the various groups battling with one another over the same patients, or the lack of a consistent philosophy and approach for a given service or procedure. It’s easy in the day-to-day operations of a health system to ignore the complexity of our organizations. I find that when we work on the website we’re pulling off the band-aid and exposing all of that mess.
A few years ago Alicia Jansen, associate vice president at MD Anderson Cancer Center had a problem on her hands. As she explained at the SHSMD Annual Conference, potential patients were having a hard time getting that first appointment. In addition to being scared and emotional with a new cancer diagnosis, they had to jump through a lot of hoops to get something scheduled. There was a lot of back and forth as well as repeated paperwork. So Jansen decided to take on the project and make the experience better.
After analyzing the procedures and talking to the call teams, she decided to create an online experience that would make the process easier on patients and the clinics.
With the new site live and performing well, Jansen shared these keys to engaging and empowering patients online – and provided lessons learned: