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.