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.Picture 1

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 improves 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.

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12 replies »

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  7. I liked the fact that the 2007 report from the Joint Commission was posted:
    Two Excerpts:
    Surveyor Findings
    EP 1
    Observed in PACU at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – East and West Campus site.
    During individual tracer activity, the record of a postoperative patient was reviewed. The preoperative admission history and physical examination by the attending surgeon was incomplete by medical staff guidelines. There was no documentation of an examination of the patient’s heart and lungs.
    Observed in the PACU at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – East and West Campus site.
    During individual tracer activity, the record of a postoperative orthopedic patient was reviewed. The record contained a preoperative history and physical examination which had been performed by a nurse
    practitioner at an outpatient encounter 12 days previously. However, the physician had not completed the required note documenting a preoperative update to the patient’s clinical condition. Medical staff rules in effect at time of survey required an update be documented at least seven days prior to operation.
    And More:
    During a patient tracer of the neurology clinic, an interview with the physician providing the patient care revealed that it was not this physician’s current practice to update the electronic medication list. A review of the medical record revealed that the electronic medication list contained one medication which the paper record indicated was discontinued. Alternatively, the paper record included a medication not in
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  8. If they’re such “experts” with asp/.NET, why didn’t they deploy the site themselves in-house? It was cheaper to have an outside vendor do it?
    I must say that I despise SiteCore and would actively steer any client away from it. Every little module is commercial and closed-source. Why would you pay for something that you can get for free? Why would you pay for something that you can’t customize?
    Plone is probably the best thing going right now because it runs on Python.

  9. Nice website, although I do not know where to navigate in it since I am not a patient or provider, etc.
    What is the cost of developing this? How much real, clinical interaction between patient and medical service provider, either facility or physician, occurs through the website? What do you measure in terms of data flow into and out of the website? Do you use a home-grown EMR/PM system? If not, a commercial one?
    Why .NET and Microsoft SQL Server as opposed to Java, Java EE, associate frameworks, MySQL or PostgreSQL database management system?

  10. I just checked out your website, and it looks like it’s improved. When you first launched the new one, I found it much harder to navigate than the old one. It was very difficult to get information on Health Care Associates, and I found that it was easier to use google and get a link to the old site. Even now–although it is much improved–it’s hard to navigate to Health Care Associates; it’s much easier to do a search from within the site.
    Any ways to make patientsite’s test results available to patients whose doctors don’t want to communicate by e-mail?

  11. It is a good information. But how do you want to think of these hitech stuffs to work when the industry is still unable to figure out basic processes.
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