Hospital intranet projects are often lost amongst the multitude of other clinical system implementations that seem to never end. Effective internal communications are often high on the list of priorities for a hospital, however with slim budgets and limited resources, implementing an intranet system can seem like another "nice to have" expense. The reality is that an effective intranet is must have for any hospital from critical access to large health systems. Effective intranets are a one stop shop for staff to access information necessary to do their jobs. They also house critical information like clinical policies and procedures, call schedules, and the cafeteria menu <-- this may or may not be considered critical by some ☺. So if this is true how can we justify the expense? The ROI of an intranet can be realized in many ways both qualitative and quantitative which we will discuss further.
Of course one of the obvious savings is paper costs. We have all been talking about "going paperless" for years now. The reality is that there will always be paper in your hospital for certain documents and processes. However, this doesn't mean that everything needs to be on paper. In particular I am referring to policy manuals and forms. Your intranet could and should house policies and procedures electronically reducing or eliminating the need to print policy manuals. Maintaining these on paper is a losing battle considering the frequency of change and cost from a productivity and printing standpoint. Worst of all paper lacks searchability for the staff so even if you could maintain the manuals staff are likely to waste even more time searching through them for what they need. Forms can also be made into electronic forms to be housed and published on your intranet. Using workflows you can route the forms electronically which not only saves on paper but makes it easier to track status of the form and store archives for future access.
Now that your staff are not wasting time tracking down and maintaining all this paper we come to our second ROI point for the intranet which is productivity savings. Having information centrally located on a searchable intranet can be a huge productivity booster. Staff no longer need to waste time sifting through paper or waiting to hear back from a coworker for information because it is readily available at their finger tips. These minutes a day saved add up over time and can have a direct impact on patient care as well.
Intranets can also reduce risk. With better document management you can be confident that staff are accessing current policies and procedures rather than older ones with incorrect information. Demonstrating good document management also comes in handy during regulatory visits of which negative results can have a direct impact on reimbursements.
Another factor to consider is employee satisfaction. Having an effective intranet in place can help keep employees engaged. Being able to communicate with 24/7 staff in a hospital can be a real challenge. Sharing information like news and announcements, employee recognition, staff blogs, and photos can connect all staff to the organization and help support your hospital's culture. Increased employee satisfaction leads to less turnover and better patient care.
Secure external communication can be another way to save with your intranet. Many hospitals are spending big bucks on board member and physician portals. With a secure intranet published externally you can communicate with these audiences without needing a specialized system. More and more hospitals are recognizing savings by utilizing secure intranets to communicate with these different audiences. Securely share things like board meetings packets, meeting minute archives, calendars, and announcements. Similarly, use the intranet engage your physicians and provide access to documents, key contact information, committee pages, formulary, and more. Consolidating communications systems via the intranet can save on licensing costs and monthly fees for other tools.
As you can see ROI adds up quickly. An intranet will impact all areas of the hospital and become the communication hub for your organization. This is why so many hospitals have made the decision to invest in an intranet that increases productivity and reduces costs and risk. Want to see some examples of great hospital employee intranets? Check out one of our recorded case study webinars.