"Sharepoint is the gold standard for intranets right?" This is what you tend to hear and read around the web. Some folks in your IT department may also have used it in the past at another organization or have had some limited experience using it. The fact is that Sharepoint intranet software can be a great intranet solution; but does it work for small and mid-size hospitals? Our experience tells us no. The majority of small and mid-size hospitals attempting Sharepoint implementations run into the same problems over and over again. I would like to point out some of the challenges that you might consider before wasting a lot of time and effort trying to implement a Sharepoint site.
1. Sharepoint is expensive! The licensing alone for a Sharepoint intranet site with remote access will likely be out of reach for most hospitals. This doesn't even take into consideration hardware, implementation assistance, or ongoing support. And what about ongoing enhancements? Remember that a good intranet will evolve with the needs of your hospital. That being the case, you cannot just build an intranet and be "done". You will need to factor in future enhancements and needs from your users.
2. No healthcare specific functionality. Sharepoint is not designed for hospitals, and therefore has zero out the box healthcare specific functionality. This means that you will be spending lots of time customizing and creating tools to support your hospital's requirements. Sure there may a few things that work great out of the box, but I can assure you that enhancements and functionality requests will be never ending. So you have a Sharepoint developer on staff to handle this right? Probably not--most small and midsize hospitals are lucky to have enough resources to support existing hardware and systems and cannot dedicate a resource to Sharepoint.
3. Limited document management. Sharepoint will solve all your hospital document management problems right? Wrong! Hospitals have very specific needs when it comes to document management. Regulations from CMS, Joint Commission, CAP, and others require you to review, update and change policies on a regular basis. Sharepoint cannot support the workflows and approvals you need out of the box. So guess what, more development!
4. Complicated to use. Sharepoint is not very user friendly. The challenges begin with complex IT infrastructure requirements and a complicated install. Sharepoint will require you to have an internal expert that can help others. This includes conducting training sessions and supporting non-technical staff that will be maintaining content in the system.
The purpose of this post is not to bash Sharepoint, but to shed light on the fact that most hospitals will not be successful with Sharepoint due to limited resources. The good news is there are other options. By conducting your own research you will find a number of other "out of the box" solutions that will meet your requirements and stay within your budget. Start out your research by checking out HospitalPORTAL. We work with specifically with small and mid-size hospitals and understand your unique requirements and challenges. Click the link below to read a case study about a small hospital that struggled with Sharepoint before finding HospitalPORTAL.