VitalSite Enhancements: Big Changes are the Sum of Small Shifts

codeIt’s fun to talk about the big, new features of a product. But sometimes little features represent really important changes. One of these small but mighty features came out in our latest VitalSite® release. It’s a neat application but more important than what it does is what it stands for. It represents a shift in the way clients are using digital — and therefore a shift in the way we develop VitalSite.

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How VitalSite CMS Improves Search Engine Rankings for Your Providers

Image of a physician's stethoscope on a search box.
You’ve been hearing a lot about the new rules of search engine optimization. Google has taken away search ranking data, inbound organic click-through data, and is, in many cases, even removing more and more of the search engine results page (SERP) real estate dedicated to organic search results!

Through it all, Google has been clear – your route to good search engine placement is the development of original, uniquely valuable content.

Although very good advice, it’s not the entire story. A search ranking isn’t just a result of the content on a page.  It’s the result of a large number of different signals including inbound links from other sites, links on social media, and a host of technical indications of both quality and topical relevance.

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Who Should Build Your Hospital Intranet?


A road sign showing two opposite directions to turn.
The intranet is a critical piece of your hospital’s infrastructure. It’s typically composed of multiple systems, applications and devices that work in concert to provide your staff with the critical resources they need to work effectively. At the center of this oft-dizzying array of systems is the ‘intranet website.’ Sometimes called an ‘employee portal,’ this website is the home base for your employees. It’s where they stay current with recent organizational news and policies. It’s where they find the day’s lunch menu, the CEO’s blog, the most recent vacation policy, contact information for colleagues, links to the other systems and more.
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Consistency: The Good And The Bad


Photo of a dartboard with three darts in the bullseye
Those unfamiliar with agile philosophies sometimes assume “agile” means lack of process, planning or consistency. In fact, all those things are present in agile … but it’s important to look at the underlying data to determine when that consistency helps or hinders us in reaching goals.

In this quarter’s client satisfaction survey we saw consistency in several areas … so we looked closer to interpret those results.
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Help Healthcare Consumers Find the Right Doctor for Them

doctors_comparison
As consumers of many products and services, we want to know our options to make informed decisions. We compare big-ticket purchases like cars and houses as well as every-day items like laundry detergent and food to make sure we get the value we want.

So why wouldn’t we compare doctors also?

Advocate Medical Group (AMG) wanted to give consumers the opportunity to take an active role when choosing a physician. So we helped them add functionality to their website allowing health consumers to compare physicians. When looking at a physician’s profile, consumers are able to answer:

  • Is this physician accepting new patients?
  • How many years of experience does the physician have?
  • Where does that physician practice?
  • Does this physician speak my native language?
  • Is the physician board certified?
  • What is the physician’s philosophy of care?

With the ability to look at doctors in parallel, consumers can choose the doctor that best meets the needs of their family. Most importantly, they are able to request an appointment and easily complete the task they set out to do.

Want to learn more about Geonetric’ s provider directory? Check it out.

Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology is Indistinguishable from Magic

VitalSite-MagicI have a quote on the wall of my office stating what’s commonly known as Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Think about a few common technologies – cell phones, televisions and airplanes. These were once thought to be the exclusive province of the supernatural. While they’re truly remarkable, we now take them for granted. Have you gotten angry when your phone drops a call when driving through a tunnel or when a flight that takes you across the country in the morning is delayed for an hour or two?

These are big, flashy examples of technology at work. Sometimes the greatest magic is in the things that just work, and one day you realize just how amazing that seemingly simple task actually is.

Great software can be that way.

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Getting Started with a Physician Portal

Providing information online is about giving people the information they need, wherever they are and whenever they need it. But often you need to provide information to a limited group of people. Whether it’s communicating to doctors working in different locations, board members in need of meeting materials or employees remotely seeking department-specific details – people need to be able to access certain information externally that you just don’t want available to everyone on the Web.
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Zero to Piwik Analytics in Under Three Minutes with VitalSite CMS

Screen capture of VitalSite Script Manager displaying the Piwik Analytics tracking code.

We’ve been making some major investments in VitalSite that provide more power to the system administrators who manage hospital websites, and to the client advisors who work with them. To this end, one of the new features we’ve recently released is the VitalSite Script Manager. This new utility is available to users with GeoTechnician or System Administrator privileges, and it allows them to manage the markup and scripts that appear in the <head> sections and near the </body> sections in the HTML of all VitalSite pages.
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CMS Training from Geonetric: It’s Like the ‘Easy’ Button Really Does Exist!

easy-button-cms-training

Remember the easy button? One simple push and everything just magically works out! Well, that’s the approach Geonetric takes with training new clients on our VitalSite content management system (CMS).

Learning new software can be overwhelming for some people. I understand that feeling based on my own experiences installing new software on my personal computer. And sometimes installing software is easy the easy part — figuring out how to use it can be a time consuming endeavor!

That’s why one of the first steps after you partner with Geonetric is to learn how to use VitalSite, our proprietary CMS. We provide our new clients with personalized, one-on-one training. We believe that making sure our clients begin the process with a real person on the phone to help them learn the product increases the speed of their adoption and helps them move forward with a higher degree of confidence.

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VitalSite Notes: An On-Page Space for Your Editorial Conversation

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With the recent release of VitalSite 8.0, we introduced Notes, a helpful new feature designed for the teams and individuals responsible for planning, creating and maintaining the content of hospital websites.

Because Notes are right next to the content they describe (but are visible only to administrators and never to the public), content teams can easily communicate with each other about the pages, panels, providers, services, locations or other VitalSite objects they work on and govern. If you’ve worked on websites for any amount of time, you know how helpful this type of capability can be.

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Google’s Universal Analytics Arrives. VitalSite’s Ready.

Google Universal Analytics Graphic

Well, it’s official. Google’s Universal Analytics (UA), the next generation of the ubiquitous Web analytics tool, is now officially out of beta and ready for prime time. According to Google, “all the features, reports, and tools of Classic Analytics are now available in the [Universal Analytics] product, including Remarketing and Audience (Demographic) reporting.” This is good news for those of us interested in taking the plunge, but unwilling to sacrifice any of the functionality we’ve come to depend on in the classic Google Analytics (GA).

Of course, it’s not just about feature parity between old and new. From custom dimensions and metrics to new approaches to cross-domain (and sub-domain) tracking, there are a bevy of new features and capabilities in Universal Analytics that will be of interest to most Web marketers and webmasters.

If you’re a Google-watcher, you’ve no doubt been keeping your eye on Universal Analytics for some time. And if you aren’t a Google-watcher, rest assured that we’ve been watching on your behalf. In fact, we’ve been planning for this announcement for quite some time.

That’s why the just-released VitalSite 7.0 includes a new Site Root Script Manager built specifically with Google’s Universal Analytics in mind.

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Value, Release Frequency and VitalSite CMS

vitalsite 7 cms

A number of years ago we took pride in the fact that we released VitalSite updates every quarter. Not only was it a significant differentiator from other software developers who struggled to deliver even one release a year, but frequent releases just seemed like the right thing to do. Why? Quarterly updates allowed us more opportunities to help our clients manage their top performing hospital websites. And that’s hard to do when you have to wait a year or more to take advantage of new features.

Over the last few years we’ve been resolute in our commitment to frequently delivering software, and the rate at which we release updates has increased manyfold. In fact, we now consider a quarterly release cadence to be slow and often symptomatic of problems on software development teams. Such problems can be the result of:

  1. A software development team that is incapable of responding quickly to changing market needs, or of quickly deploying fixes and updates to clients. This can be because of anything from code quality to management problems. Regardless of the cause, it should be considered a warning sign for many types of software.
  2. A vendor who has decided to withhold valuable changes and updates from their clients until the marketing team decides that they have ‘enough’ new functionality for them to bundle it all in a release and promote it in the market. This approach is common among software vendors who just want to rack up new sales and have little regard for existing clients.

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Search Is Not Your Website’s Dumping Ground


Stylized image of a search box

Like water from the tap or electrons from the outlet, we tend to take search for granted. Beneath the ubiquitous experience we’re all familiar with, there is a lot of advanced engineering at play… engineering intended to empower users by connecting them to results highly relevant to their queries.

That’s the theory, anyways.
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When Healthcare Organizations Merge, What Happens to the Websites?

Cone-Health-Merger-ARMC

We hear about healthcare mergers and acquisitions every day. Hospitals and medical groups are frequently joining up to offer more services and resources for their patients. But what does that mean for their Web presence? Most organizations know they need to invest in a great Web presence but are unsure how their Web initiatives will scale as their organization changes. If you’re wondering how to build a site that can grow and change with your organization, read on!

Cone Health has been a Geonetric client since 2012. They launched an impressive new site just before merging with Alamance Regional Medical Center (ARMC). This merger brought up many questions in terms of online efforts:

  • How would this change their Web strategy?
  • Was all the hard work on the Cone Health website for nothing?
  • How should ARMC update their Web presence to account for the merger?

As both organizations quickly found out, Geonetric’s VitalSite content management software had them covered! When Cone Health merged with ARMC, it became clear that sharing the same VitalSite installation was the way to go. This approach gave both organizations the advantage of allowing them to utilize cross-promotion of their content and modules, while still allowing the organizations to maintain their unique identities. With VitalSite’s FlexFilter dynamic content technology, you can enter information just once and select the specific sites it should appear on, saving everyone time.

The teams were able to work collaboratively and share knowledge that brought out the best of both the Cone Health and ARMC sites! If your Web team could use some help with an upcoming merger, contact us today to see how VitalSite’s flexibility can be the foundation of a scalable Web strategy.

Support Options for Internet Explorer 8

Screen capture of download screen for Internet Explorer 8

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8) was first introduced in March of 2009 and initially represented a major step forward in browser design. But now, nearly five years later, it’s showing its age. Loathed by Web designers and Web application developers alike, IE 8 doesn’t support many modern features of CSS3 and HTML5, and designing for it means investing in countless workarounds and developing special code specific to just that browser. In fact, supporting it in websites and Web applications has become so complex that industry leaders like Google decided years ago that they wouldn’t support it in many of their Web apps.
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