At ElevatePoint, we support more than 50,000 healthcare staff, employees, and partners. We’ve seen smaller facilities and huge health systems that span the Eastern seaboard. We have experience with mental health organizations and specialty organizations, such as eating recovery.
Based on all of our work, we’ve come up with a list of what healthcare intranets absolutely, positively must have — no matter the size and location.
1. Go mobile
Mobility is more than just a trend, it’s a necessity for productivity. Mobility increases employee engagement and compliance.
Medical professionals are busy and need to be able to access information quickly and easily. Most of your organization’s on-call schedules, policies, practices, clinical notes, procedures, and patient forms are located on your intranet. Fast access to them improves patient care and saves lives. Because they’re rarely at their desks, they need access on-the-go.
But it’s not just your busy physicians and nurses — it’s your entire community. Accountants, IT personnel, HR professionals, and more want to work anytime, anywhere. They may also need access to your business continuity, integrity reporting line, and benefits after hours.
Being productive, enabling access to what they need when they need — wherever they are — ensures they’ll follow your organization’s guidelines and policies. And that increases employee engagement while protecting your organization and your patients.
2. Personalize for relevance
Your intranet should know who people are, where they work, what they do, and what they need. It’s important because your workforce has different needs.
Your physicians and nurses need to access medication guidelines, patient care information, and emergency procedures — such as what to do if they accidentally inject themselves while helping a wiggly patient. And they need that information fast. To say it’s a matter of life and death wouldn’t be an exaggeration. That means when they start their intranet, they must see that information clearly and know intuitively where to go. Quickly. Without obstacles.
They also need access to continuing medical education, so they can keep up with accreditation, as well as the newest information about research and medical procedures. Your facility’s reputation depends on it.
It’s not just medical professionals though. Your IT department’s on-call schedule is important to the people ensuring systems are running smoothly. HR needs to know which positions they’re hiring for and where candidates are in the process. The marketing team needs access to brand guidelines. Your procedures committee needs to ensure they’re managing information. They also need quick access to what’s important to them.
Location, location, location. It’s not just a real estate motto — it’s vital to communicate with staff.
In addition to considering their role and tasks, add information relative to where people work. Each hospital or facility needs information pertaining to them, including news and alerts. For example, if their hospital won an award, the entire healthcare system should know, but more information should be provided to the hospital that won. They should also get more information about a successful patient recovery that was in their care.
But it’s not just news. Alerts — such as security and safety alerts — should be relevant to specific locations. Let your hospitals know about emergencies and provide instructions, including contacts based on their chain of command.
Add to menus and home pages
Smart intranets have home pages and menus that can be customized depending on your employee’s locations and roles. They also enable your staff — no matter who they are — to add things that make them successful and productive.
3. Make it secure
Just in 2018, 6.1 million patients’ were victims of a security breach. That’s why security remains a top consideration for healthcare organizations.
Protecting from fraud, hackers, and more is essential. You want to help employees understand important policies and procedures — how to use healthcare data, safe passwords, who can be admitted into locations, etc.
It’s one of the main reasons healthcare organizations choose Microsoft. Microsoft’s security models protect your employees and patients. You can ensure only the people who need to view information can. You’ll also know who accessed information, when it was updated, and other important details that you may not get with other intranets.
4. Collaborate to drive down healthcare costs
People want to use intranets to exchange ideas and break silos. That’s especially important in healthcare as, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield, healthcare spending in the United States is $3 trillion per year.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities want to reduce those costs, including eliminate redundancy (multiple people or departments doing the same work unnecessarily), stop overpaying internally for goods, and more.
But half the battle for reducing or eliminating this waste is in knowing who’s ordering supplies at a lower cost and what other groups are performing similar functions. Exchanging these ideas online, as they come to employees, makes a huge difference.
As we’ve seen with one client, when they have a place to exchange ideas they save money. In fact, in just a few months, they saved thousands of dollars.
5. Share kudos and good news
Every industry needs engaged employees, but in healthcare, it’s proven that increasing employee engagement is even more important as it improves patient care. Unfortunately, less than half of hospital workers — a mere 44% — feel highly engaged.
You’d think the key reasons for disengaged were about the long hours and difficult job, but that’s not the case. Most of the reasons medical professionals feel disengaged are absolutely preventable — being recognized and appreciated, having career options, and understanding the mission of the organization.
Let them recognize each other, understand organizational goals, have access to move around, and get news. Provide that key information on their portal’s home page, too.
6. Create (and explain) your one brand
Often times, especially with large healthcare systems, there have been mergers and acquisitions that force brands together. One understandable brand can be a journey. But it’s a journey worth pursuing.
One client had so many acquisitions, their staff was confused. They took several intranets and had to merge them into one.
Luckily, focusing on brand was job one for this healthcare organization. They talked with employees and patients, trying to understand what made them unique. After discussion, they determined the brand, taking parts of the culture from each acquired hospital and brought them into the overall brand. That process earned buy-in from their staff.
They then trained staff on it. That training included getting feedback and responding to questions. People understood where they fit into the overall brand, including their front-line medical professionals.
Nurses and physicians don’t necessarily need to know the correct color palette, but they do need to guidance on what sets you apart from other healthcare organizations. Help them understand that brand in the decisions they make and when they interact with patients.
7. Ensure fantastic UX and governance
Of course, getting to tasks is vital — the user experience (UX). How many clicks does it take to get to a task you perform many times per day? It is easy to find people and information? This is where your intranet lives or dies; thriving intranets are a hub of productivity while intranets that aren’t helpful are either a mess of dysfunction or a ghost town.
Search should produce meaningful results. Some healthcare organizations are using chatbots that can provide more thorough answers across communication platforms. That can even save time and money, especially in your HR and IT departments, which provide answers to routine questions such as benefits available or what to do about lost passwords.
Conduct user tests
One of the best ways to ensure great UX is to conduct user test to see how usable an intranet is. ElevatePoint has a range of low-cost ideas to determine and improve usability.
Keeping your intranet updated is especially important for healthcare organizations. Imagine having old medication tables on your intranet — that’s a patient risk! But for governance to be successful, you need to know who your main content authors are, processes for approving webpages and applications, and regular training. ElevatePoint’s intranet includes governance models. But even if you’re not a client, we have ideas.
Healthcare organizations should encourage security and safety. Intranets should have navigation and home pages based on locations and job roles, providing relevant news and information. Staff should be able to recognize each other for a job well done and see the positive impacts on patients. Intranets should be well-branded, reinforcing what sets your organization apart. Information should be easy and convenient to access. People should be able to share information, but also trust the information on there.
These are the ingredients to ensuring employees are engaged and productive. And that improves patient care and saves lives. You don’t need to go searching for a healthcare intranet; ElevatePoint has one for you. See a demo of how this all works.