New Intranet Gives Employees Access to Important Information On-campus and On-the-go

With humble beginnings traced back over a century ago to a seven-bed hospital, Holzer Health System has grown into a multi-facility system that serves 21 locations throughout southeastern Ohio and western West Virginia. The number of providers and staff have grown over the years, too, and the system now has over 160 providers and over 2,400 total staff.

That growing team depends on the health system’s intranet to access important documents, get timely updates, and access third-party tools needed to deliver patient care. Their SharePoint site wasn’t performing as needed. Like many intranets, the information architecture and homepage content organization had grown unruly, making it hard for users to find tools and documents they need. Plus, the backend was difficult to navigate and update, making it hard to improve that frontend user experience. Employees’ growing reliance on different devices also created a challenge, as the current intranet wasn’t responsive.

Holzer Health System’s marketing and I.T. teams decided it was time for a change.

Leveraging a CMS system they know and love

For a quick fix, Holzer Health System turned to their digital partner, Geonetric, to develop an employee home page on the public site so team members could get information and event updates quickly from their mobile devices.

Building on the success of this page, Holzer Health System began building an entirely new intranet on VitalSite – the same content management system (CMS) used for their public site. The marketing team was familiar with VitalSite and knew it was easy to use, giving them confidence it would be easier to maintain the new intranet.

Plus, the CMS came with all the modules and integration the health system needed – including forms and documents, calendar and events, site search, SmartPanels, eCards, a newsfeed, and active directory integration – which allows the system to deliver personalized experiences on the site based on users’ roles.

Depending on content strategy and design expertise

By partnering with Geonetric, Holzer Health System was also able to rely on the agency’s designers and content strategists to design an intuitive user experience for their employees.

As part of the content strategy, Geonetric performed an employee-wide survey to help prioritize what content and functionality users really needed. The survey focused on what was or wasn’t working with the previous intranet.

The results of this survey helped guide information architecture and labeling, based on the needs of the users and using terms they understood and used. The survey results guided information architecture recommendations that included a primary navigation dedicated to organization information, documents and resources, education and training, and benefits and HR and a secondary navigation that puts quick links like phone book, the on-call list, and the cafeteria menu at users’ fingertips. It also helped to relabel navigation items to match the words employees used in their survey to make it easier to understand where to find the tools they need.

The survey also helped to provide priorities the content strategists used to deliver homepage recommendations to help make the homepage of the new intranet as effective as possible for all users. Users mentioned roadblocks and points of frustrations in their comments in the survey, which was leveraged to make recommendations for an easier to use, redesigned intranet. One of those roadblocks was confusion and frustration with multiple forms and outdated documents, something that could be streamlined with an easier to manage intranet CMS moving forward.

The design builds off of the public website templates as well as the employee-facing page on the public site and also included some updates to the design for easier use on the intranet. It features a customizable rotating banner and also has a custom drop down menu. The new intranet is responsive, delving an optimal user experience on all devices and it also met all WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines at launch. It also provides a much more visually appealing and friendly opportunity to access the materials that employees need every day for their work.

Launching at critical time

The new intranet went live in early April, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping the country. The new banner was quickly updated with critical employee information, and was easy to update as the pandemic unfolded.

Holzer Health System’s previous intranet didn’t have analytics so there aren’t any year-over-year comparisons. Since July 2020, the new site has had over 6,800 users and 41,263 sessions, for an average of 5.98 sessions per user showing adoption of the platform. There have been 79,000 pageviews with an average session duration of 2:45. There have been over 2,000 total file downloads.

Outperform Your Competition’s Intranet

At Geonetric, we’re reflecting, too. And we’re proud of the recent feats of functionality we’ve “coached” into hospital intranet launches, making them stronger, faster and more efficient while they support your organization. Thinking of overhauling your organization’s intranet? Here are the medalists you want on your team:

Gold Medal: Personalization

The best intranets provide quick access to what you need, when you need it. Personalization ensures users can easily navigate to the content that relates to their roles and responsibilities. Going a step further, combining personalization with security roles creates an intranet that is both easy to use and secure.

For example, a medical group employee can only access benefits for the medical group. With help from a security setting, users are identified as a member of a specific group, which alerts the system of the credentials as well as the appropriate navigation to deliver.

Geonetric’s VitalSite CMS integrates Active Directory, content personalization, and security roles. This means no annoying pop-ups or password bumbling as users log in only once with familiar credentials and freely navigate the intranet using links that are targeted to their needs.

Silver Medal: Form Workflows

Who doesn’t love an easy way to manage workflows?

Web-based forms can be used to solve all sorts of challenges. In an intranet environment, extra workflow steps can turn forms into full-fledged custom modules. Processes like employee nominations, benefit forms or other secure documents might need to pass through several hands before they’re finalized.

Geonetric’s Form Builder supports flexible workflows, making it easy for anyone verifying or approving employee-related forms to access them and move them down the assembly line. This functionality is a huge win if you work with several teams or offer several points of contact on your employee intranet.

Bronze Medal: Blog Integration

While we typically see blogs as a way to attract and engage patients and visitors on your public website, they can be an important part of an intranet as well. Employee blogs celebrate your organization’s culture, encourage conversation between staff, and shine a light on standout employees.

Whether created in VitalSite, WordPress or another blog tool you can easily integrate posts into your VitalSite intranet. The result? A seamless experience allowing employees and staff easy access to read what’s new at the organization.

Honorable Mention: Responsive Design

Designers who build responsive designs always deserve a gold medal, but we’ve relegated responsive design to that heart-breaking fourth place. Why? By now your intranet should already be adapting to the devices your employees use every day: tablets, smartphones and desktop screens of all sizes.

A lot of organizations understand why responsive is so important for health consumers, but don’t forget about your employees. They’re looking for the same ease of use on their devices as they have at home when they browse online.

Give Your Intranet a Gold Medal

If you’re ready to take your intranet to new heights, contact us today. Whether you need to sort out what you have (and make it easy to find again), or want to create a customized experience for your employees and staff, we can help.