This is the third and final installment of our three-part hospital intranet series. In our first installment, we took a look at how various healthcare organizations are successfully using hospital intranets. Last month’s installment examined who should own a hospital intranet and which content management system platform is best.
The goal of your hospital’s intranet is to provide easy access to information that your users need in order for them to do their job better. So what happens when your plan to launch a new (or redesigned) intranet site and force your users to adapt to everything that occurs with its launch? Here is insight on preparing your intranet users for change, taking a gradual approach to launching your intranet and some tips to effectively market it.
Battling Resistance to Change
Even the worst intranet site may, at times, be used by your employees because they have learned where to located that one specific piece of information or tool that they need, but that is the extent of how they use the intranet. Whenever there is any kind of change—like where your users normally find information—people become resistant to it, even if it improves the user’s experience. So how do healthcare organizations overcome this resistance to change from its intranet users?
Web Usability Consultant Jakob Nielsen
advises that when developing an intranet site, the best way to do so is to prepare employees ahead of time for upcoming alterations and to expect an adjustment period for the new site.
Preparing employees for change to excite them about the new intranet doesn’t have to be difficult.
- Conduct user research and usability studies to find out what type of information employees are seeking and what they do/do not like about your current intranet.
- Communicate and engage with employees early on about the new intranet to encourage user buy-in and facilitate discussion.
- Provide early access for testing purposes and to create an early “buzz” about the new site.
Types of Intranet Launches
There are several approaches to launching an intranet, for example:
- Pilot roll out—where you work with a select group of people—much like a focus group—and allow them to use the intranet and offer feedback where you can decided if it is ready to be launched to a wider audience. This enables you to focus more on the intranet’s functionality and usability.
- Phased roll out—where you deploy the intranet to certain departments first, in order to see if it is working properly and to the user’s expectations.
- Gradual roll out—where you can propel the intranet in stages. This type of rollout is the easiest and most effective.
Why We Recommend a Gradual Approach to Launching Your Hospital’s Intranet
Some healthcare organizations (and clients of ours that we’ve developed intranets for) have taken a four step approach in successfully launching their employee intranet. Here is a step-by-step method of how a roll out procedure like this may occur:
Step 1 – Beta launch of new site:
When users navigate to the intranet site, they are faced with a splash screen that gives them the opportunity to visit either the new intranet site or the old intranet site. By having this option for your users, it means that you will have to maintain two intranet sites short term, while you encourage users to try out the new site.
Step 2 – Direct access to new site still allowing access to old site:
The splash screen is no longer available, so when users navigate to the intranet site, it automatically takes them to the new one, but once on the new homepage, provides a link back to the old intranet site.
Step 3 – Access limitations to old site:
Same in step 2, the user is directed to the new intranet site, with an option to the old site, but must fill out an online form specifying why they chose to use the old site. This type of method can be used as a communication tool to assist in garnering information of what users like about the old site or if the new site is missing something, and ultimately can be applied to future roll out procedures or even intranet redesigns.
Step 4 – Full engagement:
The new intranet site is fully deployed and it is the only site for users.
Generally, step 1 through step 4 would have a timeframe of 60 days, with each phase driving toward the goal of removing the old site and enabling the new site. Keep in mind that while launching your hospital’s intranet, you must provide proper training on software and usability for your employees during this process. From live intranet demos and tutorials, to printed instructions, employees all have different learning styles so it’s best to offer multiple types of training information.
Marketing and Promoting Your Hospital Intranet
To obtain daily visits by your hospital’s employees to your intranet, and to reach your goal of easily supplying information to them, you must develop an internal communication plan
that makes your employees aware of your intranet’s existence and the value of the content located within its pages.
Here are some things that healthcare organizations can do to promote their intranet before, during and after launch:
- Enable healthy competition amongst departments that will champion the cause to create success.
- Brochures, posters, flyers hung in staff areas (e.g. on bulletin boards, in lounges, etc.) to raise awareness.
- Intranet presentations for each department at team meetings that highlight key features specific to them.
- Kiosk demonstrations in break rooms and cafeterias that help retrain employees.
- Signature in emails for key intranet players announcing the new intranet.
- Mentions of the intranet in eNewsletters, eBlasts and on pay stubs where employees will directly see it.
- Other to get employees involved and in the know! (e.g. intranet naming contests, etc.)
Rolling out and marketing a hospital intranet can be a stressful and lengthy task, but with the right communication and launch plan it most certainly can prove to be a valuable tool for your organization.
This concludes our three part hospital intranet series. Hopefully after reading this series we’ve helped you gain valuable insight on some of the diverse and innovative ways hospitals are successfully using their intranets, answered the question as to who should own your hospital’s intranet and offered tips on how to successfully launch and market your intranet.
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