Monday, June 29, 2009

Implementing a Modern Hospital Website

Over the past two years, I've witnessed a transition in modern website design from plain text and static information to multimedia centric and interactive. I've written about the new BIDMC website we implemented to meet patient expectations for a modern website.

Many healthcare organizations I work with are considering content managed, new media, highly interactive web 2.0 sites. I thought it would be useful to describe how we approached the BIDMC website so you can leverage our experience.

Content Management - BIDMC has a great deal of .NET expertise, so we wanted a content management system that worked well in our .NET/SQL Server 2008 environment. SiteCore has been ideal for us, providing content templates, distributed content management, and publishing workflow in a load balanced, secure, virtualized environment. At HMS we use Drupal and Wordpress for content management. They also work well for hosting institutional web sites.

Interactive features - The Corporate Communications folks at BIDMC really wanted to highly interactivity. We built and bought the components they needed as follows

Blogs - Uses a SiteCore provided blogging module

Chat - a commercial application called Cute Chat from CuteSoft.

BIDMC TV (news and information videos produced by BIDMC)- Hosted by BrightCove.

Medical Edge (videos about innovation produced by BIDMC)- Hosted by BrightCove.

Podcast Gallery - Hosted on BIDMC servers.

Health Quizzes - created using a commercial application called SelectSurvey.NET from ClassApps.

Social Networking - entirely hosted by outside service providers (Facebook/Twitter/You Tube).

Secure patient web pages for communication with their families - a commercial application provided by CarePages.

Conditions A-Z - a web-based encyclopedia branded for BIDMC using commercial reference provided by Ebsco.

Search Engine - We're using a Google Appliance

Thus, the combination of SiteCore plus purchased interactive applications and externally hosted streaming video has worked very well to provide our patients with an information rich, interactive experience.

I hope this is useful to you as you implement your own hospital websites.


Furqan Nazeeri said...

Great post. I wonder what sort of legal/policy issues surfaced, if any, in creating a website that allowed user generated content (as well as providing 3rd party content). Were there any particularly thorny issues you had to address?

qkslvrwolf said...

I read your blog regularly, mostly because I'm an IT guy in a family of doctors and I daydream of getting (back) into healthcare IT, just for the overlap with my folks.

You understand open principles: copyleft, open standards, and perhaps even open source. Yet the new site that you've stood up is almost entirely proprietary and based on closed standards.


I wholly understand the limitations of working within your existing infrastructure. Hell, I work for the Air Force, and they have a long-term, no bid contract with microsoft for most of their IT infrastructure.

It just seems, that with a new effort like this, SOME effort might've been made to open your route. Then, in theory, smaller organizations with less resources would've had more of a chance to use your lessons learned to implement something for themselves, on a smaller scale.

How much did you consider adding open components to your mix before you decided on all proprietary stuff?

Mike said...

Interesting implementation you all have done. I'm wondering about resource requirements to build and support the web site for your institution. How many FTE's associated with this overhead? Time spent in development etc...

Unknown said...

Echoing what Raydra said:
Please tell us what size staff you have to support this beautiful and robust site (developers to create & update the templates, information architects to guide the usability of the site structure, content writers, graphic designers, trainers/help desk to support non-technical users of SiteCore, etc.)
Many hospital web departments are struggling with a skeleton staff, but we have no benchmarks to use in pleading our case.

Unknown said...

You stated that you were a SQL/.NET shop. I'm curious if you considered SharePoint for your CMS needs and, ultimately, why you chose not to go that route.

Unknown said...

good post. "Category IV- Standards to be determined
“Gleam in the eye,” some concepts exist but no clear path"

thank you

psikolog u─čur dalan

John Halamka said...

Regarding staffing

Corporate communications has 1 supervisor and 2 staff who maintain the website

IS has provided the infrastructure and hosting environment without additional staff. However if you add up all the time spent, it likely totals 1 FTE.

Henry said...

I am curious as to the experience with CuteChat and HIPAA requirements. Could you elaborate or possibly consider a post on how HIPAA has impacted your web development? Thanks!

Jerry said...

I'm in at a similar point without HealthCare System's web effort, although a few years behind you.

I read through your Blog post and it sounds almost like our issues/needs list.

I too am considering SiteCore as a platform to build our web presence around, among others. It seems SiteCore already has the platform and the interoperability options with SharePoint. I also have a staff of .Net developers and several home grown applications.

I was wondering if your site included any Epic tools like MyChart or EpicCare Link to manage referrals and if they integrated well into the SiteCore framework?

Has SiteCore met your needs and expectations?