Organizations need intranet best practices. But for the healthcare industry, ensuring intranets are updated and correct can save lives.
Using intranet best practices reduces risk while ensuring legal compliance, improving quality and safety (for patients and for medical professionals), improving employee engagement, and reducing liability and risk. Best practices also improve communication and collaboration. They increase business and financial acumen. Using best practices enables organizations to protect patients, visitors, staff, partners, and the health system or hospital.
Best practices also give organizations a competitive advantage. Staff can get information about organizational goals so your hospital or health care system continue to thrive and grow. Employees can start doing more for patients, setting your hospital or health system apart.
Convinced you need them? Great! Now … what are those best practices that will do more to help patients, staff, and organizations? ElevatePoint has 7 ideas based on our experience with more than 60,000 healthcare workers.
1. Get the right people involved
Many people care about the intranet besides just IT and Corporate Communications. (Although, they should care!)
Gather healthcare personnel from around your company, including departments that handle patient safety and care. Here are a few you may not have considered:
- Nurses. They’re the backbone of your organization. Engaging and informing them should be one of the key strategies behind your intranet. Involve them in making decisions — dosages, Lippincott (or other) procedures, infection prevention, patient safety, safe handling, assistance programs to support them, and more. Also, think of your intranet as part of a larger communication strategy, keeping nurses informed and engaged. When nurses are engaged and informed, patients have better outcomes.
- Physicians. Provide information that physicians need on your intranet. This probably includes links to EHR as well as continuing medical education. Though they’re busy, they need to have a voice in what information they need quick access to.
- HR. Give benefits information, policies, recruiting and hiring processes, termination procedures, and more. If you have HR business partners, include them as part of their efforts to optimize departments.
- Training and Organizational Development. In healthcare more than other industries, continuing education and classes for accreditation are critical. Provide information, materials, certification requirements, and more.
- Safety, security, and emergency management. Get employees prepared for surge (when hospitals have more patients), how to prepare for disasters themselves (so they can help others), and what to do when safety and security issues arise.
- Information managers or records managers. There are risks for keeping information longer than necessary as well as not providing the right information. Get them involved to protect your health system or hospital.
- Finance. Purchasing, travel reimbursement, billing, and more be online.
- Specific project managers. If your organization has people assigned to organizational goals, include them. That way, you’ll be communicating with employees about these goals as well as ensuring your intranet is helping to meet them.
Site owners and content authors for content
Many of these people who have a vested interest can help provide information as well as keep it updated: site owners or content authors.
Site owners are subject matter experts who have insight and information to share. Content authors are the people who make the updates.
Sometimes they’re the same person and sometimes they’re different people.
Manage change to increase adoption and improve content
Not only will getting the right people involved improve the content on your intranet as well as keep it updated, but having the right people involved will increase adoption. After all, everyone wants a voice and to help make decisions when dealing with change. It’s good change management practice.
2. Get execs involved
The intranet can help executives communicate organizational goals to employees, share insights (that include business and financial acumen), and clarify the competitive landscape. Intranets can give health systems and hospitals a competitive advantage. So intranets help executives.
Executives can help you help them. Executives are the ones who typically approve budgets and champion big projects. An executive can convince other executives this is a good idea while battling for budgets.
3. Govern your intranet
Intranet governance ensures the intranet is updated. Policies, procedures, general information, third-party applications, and more should all have owners assigned, schedules to update information, and people be accountable.
By involving the right people, and keeping them involved, you’ll keep your intranet accurate.
4. Make your intranet useful
Intranets should be a place where employees can be productive and effective, no matter where they are.
Physicians and nurses on-the-go need to get vital information. Instead of making them sign into a desktop, provide mobile devices (such as the tablet they use for EHR) that have been cleared for use by your IT department. They can look up information that makes than more efficient.
Provide good content
Again, by involving the right people, your intranet content will be better. Content should inform and engage employees. Information should be necessary, too, not superfluous. There are a few tips and tricks you can use to make intranet pages easier to use and follow. And we have lots of ideas of content you can include on your intranet.
5. Make your intranet easy to use
Three things make your intranet easier to use: great design, good navigation, and a search engine that works.
Design and user experience (UX)
Although no one is expecting Monet, the experience of using your intranet should be simple, smooth, fast, appealing, and seamless. It should embrace your brand, its essence — such as the culture — and its particulars — such as the font and color palette.
Many hospitals have navigation that’s listed by departments or worse, duplicated information from acquired hospitals. Spend time with the people who’ve helped you create content to restructure your intranet’s navigation.
Conduct usability tests. They can be easy to do and don’t require that many resources. In fact, you should start with your most useful pages or most search pages.
For most intranets, search is a major issue. It rarely yields helpful results. But that should be the number one way people find people, places, and things quickly … on any device.
Promote search results making some pages stand out. Use contextual search with autocomplete to find the right information faster.
At a healthcare organization, staff have different needs. Physicians need speedy access to the EHR as well as resources, such as a medical library. Nurses require specific nursing procedures, patient safety guidelines, and more. Your graphic designer needs Pantone colors while your writer needs a style guide.
Personalization enables key roles to receive different tools, resources, news, links, and more. In other words, the information you’re providing is relevant to them. It makes your health system or hospital staff faster, smarter, and more effective.
You don’t need to spend money on social intranets or tools for your intranet to be a two-way communication vehicle. Today, people can use intranets to collaborate, innovate, and even be social together. ElevatePoint enables you to engage across pages, where threaded discussions get to questions, answer people with a ping, and share information. You can give kudos to other employees, a peer-to-peer recognition. And you can vote on ideas innovate.
Summary: best practices are about the right intranet
Following these company intranet best practices can make a huge difference. It can turn your intranet into a bustling, lively place where people are productive — sharing information, collaborating, and getting information that makes a difference to patients. It can communicate organizational goals that also enable your health system or hospital to thrive.
Of course, some intranets have these best practices as part of their platform, such as ElevatePoint. Our intranet platform and intranet services have built in governance, processes that get the right people involved, tools to help executives get involved, great UX, advanced search, and information architecture (navigation) that makes an intranet appealing, quick, and simple. With more than 60,000 healthcare workers who’ve used our intranet and services, we also have experience with what other healthcare systems are doing on their intranet.
Best of all, we understand communication and technology strategy, knowing an intranet is part of an overall communication system while leveraging tech stacks.