Hospital Intranet – Thinking Outside of the Box

     

Creating the right intranet for your organizationA typical hospital intranet serves as a portal to internal communications, policy and procedure management, task lists, and departmental information repositories. While this satisfies the majority of internal communication needs and covers 80-90% of typical uses and requirements in a healthcare intranet setting, quite often a small customization or a clever use of existing tools can enable additional functionality that not only will “WOW” your users, but also will result in significant savings and performance improvements to the organization.

A number of HospitalPortal.net’s clients continuously push boundaries of their intranet systems’ capabilities, both by repurposing existing functionality and modules to perform non-traditional tasks, as well as by adding new functionality and modules to address business needs and to provide workflow automation and transparency to often complex processes.

Reusing existing functionality for non-traditional uses

There are many examples of how innovation and visionary thinking of our clients continues to expand applications of their hospital’s intranet. For example, since our Policy and Procedure component already supports revision tracking and includes review notifications, numerous clients have used it successfully to manage approval, periodic review and
renewal of contracts for both clinical and non-clinical departments. The Help
Desk Ticket Tracking component that was designed to manage IT or Facility tickets has been successfully utilized by Pharmacy departments to process prescription renewals. The Calendar’s component appointment request feature has been used to track PTO requests by departmental staff. And the list goes on and on. Advantages of reusing existing components are:

  • they don't require additional fees
  • from operational and IT perspective, additional training is rarely needed since it utilizes functionality that is already familiar to users…just in a different way.

Framing external content

Another example of “outside of the box” thinking is utilization of a web page viewer component for framing external applications inside of the hospital intranet framework. Every hospital utilizes a host of web applications to support its operations. This may range from EMR systems and enterprise level HR and payroll solutions to clinical reference libraries, online learning systems, door access solutions, or even external job posting systems.

As with any large organization, hospitals often struggle to provide easy ways to navigate  applications without compromising organizational identity. With a web page viewer, many of such disbursed applications can be framed directly into portal pages and the intranet navigation menu. With this approach the identity is preserved and the navigation puzzle is largely simplified. But you don’t need to stop there. With a bit of simple yet clever programming you can further simplify access to such external applications with a single sign on for your intranet users.

Customization

Many of our clients go one step further and add custom modules created to address their specific needs. Since the intranet already reaches all staff in a hospital, it is a great platform to automate tasks across different departments or physical locations while providing a familiar user interface and a central access point. These simple improvements often lead to huge benefits and savings for the organization.

Recent examples of custom components we have created for clients include:

  • A census board that allows for graphical reporting of bed statuses across the entire hospital with support for environmental services workflow management
  • An idea bank – a module for submitting and reporting status of performance improvement ideas
  • Payroll Stub/W2 display – a secure mechanism for displaying W2 and payroll staff to hospital staff
  • Wellness Tracker – a tool for managing wellness initiatives and tracking and rewarding individual and group wellness records
  • Lab Master – searchable repository of lab tests and procedures
  • Physician Referral Log – a tool for managing and reporting in network and out of network physician referrals
  • And many others…

 

These are just few examples of how thinking outside of the box can transform a traditional Intranet site into an interactive tool that enhances productivity, addresses common workflow challenges and leads to long-lasting improvements.  If you would like to see real world customization examples first-hand, be sure to watch our recorded webinar on this topic.  What custom functionality has your healthcare organization incorporated into your intranet?

 

Customization Ideas for Healthcare Intranets

Albert Jurkiewicz

About The Author

Albert is a Policies and Procedures System Implementation Expert and Lead Architect of the HospitalPORTAL Intranet and Policy Manager product. He has assisted with implementations of automated intranets and policy management systems at hospitals across the country for the past 19 years.