UPMC reveals how you can overhaul, unify and personalize a number of healthcare web sites

College of Pittsburgh Medical Middle is a healthcare supplier and insurer that employs greater than 90,000 staff and is the biggest non-governmental employer within the state of Pennsylvania. UPMC encompasses 40 hospitals in Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland, in addition to hospitals in Eire and Italy. UPMC is affiliated with the College of Pittsburgh Colleges of Well being Sciences.


In 2014, UPMC had 5 main web sites that various broadly in performance, sophistication and design – leading to a sophisticated, inefficient and cumbersome end-user expertise. Over time, every of those web sites originated in numerous methods from an assortment of teams throughout the group. The web presence was basically a patchwork of loosely related web sites.

“Moreover, every web site was constructed on a unique platform, which was a upkeep nightmare,” mentioned Susan A. Hill, senior digital advertising supervisor at UPMC. “The web sites wanted to be consolidated, or no less than made extra cohesive. Moreover, UPMC had recognized the power to implement a strong personalization technique as a key advertising aim. We would have liked an answer that may additionally enable us to maneuver aggressively ahead with this initiative.”


After the analysis of quite a few content material administration methods (CMSs), Sitecore stood out to UPMC employees attributable to its skill to ship a full digital expertise, its skill to supply the extent of customization employees desired and the power to implement a strong personalization technique, Hill defined.

“They rapidly grew to become the clear and apparent selection for us,” she mentioned. “In 2014, we kicked off a large-scale, multiyear undertaking to consolidate our 5 main web sites right into a single, complete CMS. In December 2015, the UPMC Youngsters’s Hospital website was our first website to launch utilizing Sitecore, adopted by our Neighborhood Pediatrics website, Hillman Most cancers Middle website, Physicians Assets website, and, lastly, our flagship website, UPMC.com, launched in 2018.”


So personalization was a key advertising aim for UPMC. From the launch of the very first Sitecore web site, employees toyed with personalization.

“Initially, we have been targeted on easy, rules-based personalization – altering content material and pictures based mostly on variety of visits, marketing campaign entry, GEO IP handle and aim completion,” Hill famous. “Nevertheless, we have been conscious that we have been solely scratching the floor of what was attainable. We additionally weren’t absolutely taking into account the reporting or future optimizations that may very well be discovered from a well-thought-out strategy to personalization.”

Moreover, employees confronted a problem that’s notably distinctive to the healthcare trade – discovering the proper balancing level between efficient personalization and over-personalization, she added. Employees knew the place they wished to be however have been struggling to chart a transparent path.

“We’ve been capable of consolidate upkeep and updates of all websites beneath one workforce. Along with the considerably apparent benefits of this, there have been various unanticipated advantages. For instance, as a result of our content material authors now solely must work in a single CMS, this has allowed them to develop a a lot larger stage of technological experience than beforehand when their work was cut up throughout a number of methods.”

Susan A. Hill, UPMC

“It in all probability goes with out saying that each HIPAA and GDPR have to be taken under consideration when contemplating personalization on a healthcare web site,” Hill remarked. “As a result of there are restrictions on entry to website guests’ private data, each website customer is basically nameless and capable of be profiled by website conduct solely.

“Additionally, we’re keenly conscious that on the subject of healthcare, individuals are particularly involved about privateness,” she continued. “The extent of personalization generally discovered, and lately typically anticipated, on e-commerce websites and leisure streaming websites could be fully inappropriate for a healthcare web site. Whereas we need to present our website guests with an expertise tailor-made to their pursuits and perceived wants, we by no means, beneath any circumstance, need them to really feel uncomfortable.”

With these two challenges all the time on the entrance of employees members’ minds, they knew that putting in the really sturdy personalization technique that they envisioned would take detailed planning to deal with the distinctive scenario.

UPMC shared its challenges and targets with Sitecore and determined that working with the corporate’s Sitecore Enterprise Optimization Methods (SBOS) workforce was one of the best first step towards accelerating personalization efforts.

“The SBOS workforce held a two-day, onsite workshop with UPMC in December of 2019 to begin figuring out and constructing out our digital targets,” Hill recalled. “The workshop included members from all areas of the UPMC digital advertising workforce. Bringing collectively people from throughout the workforce was vital as a result of a profitable personalization technique requires each understanding and contribution from varied areas of experience.”

With the SBOS workforce’s steerage, UPMC employees got here to a consensus on the important thing parts wanted to maneuver their technique ahead and notice their aim of constructing a very private expertise for his or her web site guests.

“We got here out of the workshop with a transparent personalization technique that everybody understood and, equally vital, that everybody agreed on,” Hill mentioned. “Our growth workforce constructed customized targets into our Sitecore resolution to correctly observe digital conversion factors. Constructing out the Sitecore advertising management panel and defining our digital targets made personalization efforts simpler and extra scalable.”

Moreover, employees now had a concrete approach of reporting and proving the effectiveness of their personalization efforts.

“Immediately at UPMC, we’re personalizing pages on our websites with adaptive personalization utilizing person patterns and profiles,” Hill defined. “This has made our optimization extra audience-based. We constantly check our personalization efforts to enhance the effectiveness and carry of our personalization initiatives.

“Whereas prior to now, we typically struggled to get our shoppers to purchase into a few of our personalization concepts and strategies, they now attain out to us so as to add personalization to assist their campaigns,” she continued. “Total, UPMC has embraced and tailored to a extra nuanced personalization and optimization strategy.”

None of this might have been attainable, Hill added, with out the involvement of individuals throughout your entire digital advertising workforce, together with Advertising and marketing Technologist Sean Tubridy and the event workforce headed by Wealthy Collier.

Then got here 2020 and COVID-19.

“To say that 2020 discovered us all dwelling in unprecedented occasions looks like an understatement,” Hill mentioned. “Throughout the globe, people and companies noticed their world upended by the pandemic. Everybody felt the necessity to present present and correct data to their viewers, however none extra so than these within the healthcare trade. For us, it grew to become doubtlessly lifesaving.

“As a enterprise, how do you join throughout a pandemic? How do you attain individuals when it’s essential to social distance? How do you’ve got a dialog when everyone seems to be observing stay-at-home restrictions? These have been the questions most companies have been probably asking themselves. To us, it was at this second after we knew that digital channels unquestionably would develop into the first option to talk.”

When the coronavirus started to unfold, because the main healthcare supplier in its area, UPMC’s want to speak and keep related with its communities grew to become an ethical crucial, not only a enterprise want, she added.

“UPMC’s management instantly acknowledged the necessity to present the communities we serve with up-to-date data as rapidly as attainable, and so they turned to the digital advertising workforce to make this occur,” Hill mentioned. “Leveraging the instruments that Sitecore offers, we have been capable of quickly arrange a COVID-19 data hub on our flagship website, UPMC.com.”

There, not solely sufferers however the broader communities UPMC serves can discover a variety of up-to-the-moment data together with:

  • Preventative measures to comprise the unfold of the virus

  • How you can acknowledge signs and search care

  • Testing availability and areas

  • New hospital protocols together with visits to the ER and admissions

“With each day, typically hourly, updates and additions, the COVID-19 hub grew rapidly,” Hill mentioned. “As quickly as tutorial movies have been obtainable, they have been posted to the hub. We added live-streaming capabilities that allowed our viewers to look at press conferences with our medical and analysis specialists in actual time.

“In beneath an hour, because of Sitecore types and an integration with Salesforce Advertising and marketing Cloud, we have been ready so as to add a registration type to the hub that allowed customers to enroll in informative emails,” she continued. “Up to now, such a work would have required days, if not weeks. However with Sitecore’s expertise, we have been ready so as to add new instruments and performance as rapidly as wanted.”

No request went unfulfilled, and because of this employees have been capable of constantly serve their communities in the way in which they deserve throughout extraordinary occasions, she added.

“Usually, giant tasks have timelines that stretch out weeks if not months,” Hill famous. “With the pandemic, we needed to transfer at lightning pace as a result of lives actually relied on it. We had the preliminary hub up inside a few days, and we have been including new performance to it earlier than it even formally launched.

“Many issues got here collectively to permit us to maneuver at such an accelerated tempo – a devoted digital advertising workforce, medical specialists prepared to carve out valuable time of their frantic schedules, a affected person expertise workforce to assist coordinate advertising and medical efforts, and the experience of our technical workforce that allowed us to leverage our platform in new and unanticipated methods.”

The pandemic introduced unimagined challenges and ranges of hysteria by no means earlier than shared by so many. UPMC has all the time put its sufferers’ wants first, and, seeing the very actual well being dangers dealing with its communities, it acknowledged instantly the necessity for a trusted ally to assist information them via the unchartered waters, Hill mentioned.

“Sitecore’s expertise allowed us to rapidly reply to those wants of our sufferers, our neighbors and our buddies, and set up an data hub for data the place our group may get present, correct and trustworthy perception from trusted medical leaders in a rapidly altering world,” she mentioned.


Initially, UPMC’s major aim was to unify the web sites. It wanted to make sure a constant and optimum person expertise for all guests.

UPMC additionally wished to streamline the upkeep of 5 main websites. Hill says she does not need to downplay the hassle of rebuilding 5 giant websites on a brand new platform, however the funding of time and sources has definitely paid off.

“We’ve been capable of consolidate upkeep and updates of all websites beneath one workforce,” Hill famous. “Along with the considerably apparent benefits of this, there have been various unanticipated advantages. For instance, as a result of our content material authors now solely must work in a single CMS, this has allowed them to develop a a lot larger stage of technological experience than beforehand when their work was cut up throughout a number of methods.

“From a growth perspective, our tech workforce now has the power to construct new instruments and performance that can be utilized throughout a number of websites,” she continued. “Not does the addition of a brand new web page element should be constructed 5 occasions with the intention to be used on all of the websites. 

“Even when a website requires a novel growth strategy, a lot of that work used can nonetheless be leveraged to be used on the opposite websites,” she added. “This has dramatically streamlined our total growth course of and allowed us to be way more environment friendly and productive.”

The identical applies throughout all areas – person testing, website efficiency, accessibility enhancements, search engine optimisation greatest practices, and so forth. Whereas it could begin on one website, it could actually then simply be utilized throughout all the opposite websites, she added.

“Along with consolidating our predominant web sites, we additionally had began with the advertising aim of creating a strong personalization technique,” Hill mentioned. “Sitecore’s skill on this space was definitely a driving consider our platform determination. Whereas the precise implementation of our envisioned technique was way more nuanced than initially anticipated, we now have in place a stable basis.

“Immediately, along with commonplace rules-based personalization, UPMC is utilizing adaptive personalization based mostly on person patterns and profiles on our websites,” she continued. “This enables our personalization and optimization efforts to be extra audience-based. In different phrases, quite than merely personalizing a web page based mostly on a geolocation or time of day or referring supply, we will present personalization extra aligned with the customers’ pursuits and perceived targets. This offers our customers with a a lot richer and tailor-made on-site expertise.”


First, Hill advises friends contemplating such a undertaking to be pondering of the longer term.

“As everyone knows, the digital world appears to evolve at warp pace typically,” she mentioned. “New expertise can typically be a major funding in each price and sources. You need to ensure your funding is not going to solely handle your present wants however will evolve and develop with you. When evaluating expertise suppliers, take a look at their historical past of upgrades and the way these upgrades expanded the capabilities afforded by the expertise.

“You need to select an organization that has constantly been forward-thinking and rising their product to maintain tempo with the wants of their clients,” she continued. “Taking this into consideration will assist scale back the chance of outgrowing the expertise you’ve got invested in.”

Second, Hill strongly recommends being as inclusive as attainable within the decision-making course of, the implementation and the continued use of the expertise.

“In our case, after we have been evaluating new CMSs, representatives from throughout the group have been a part of the method,” she mentioned. “This included IT, advertising and hospital management. Every group introduced a novel and useful perspective on their particular necessities in addition to potential challenges that wanted to be thought-about.”

Taking this strategy ensured not solely that employees have been choosing the proper resolution, however it additionally instilled a way of possession that ensured a dedication to success throughout many considerably disparate teams, she added.

“We’ve continued to take this inclusive strategy over the following years, and because of this we’ve created a stable core of assist for and understanding of the expertise,” she concluded. “An unexpected bonus to this strategy is that the cross workforce and division connections made have carried over to different tasks and opened new channels of communications.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT

Electronic mail the author: bsiwicki@himss.org

Healthcare IT Information is a HIMSS Media publication.

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